If you’re serious about growing your wealth, then it could be in your best interest to work with a financial planner.
Financial planners are advisors that personally work with clients to develop savings and investment strategies to help them meet their goals, both short-term and long-term. They can help develop savings strategies for people eyeing a new home or additional property purchase. Some even specialize in retirement and estate planning to help people plan for into their twilight years.
Whatever the situation, it can behoove people to hire one. After all, financial planners are experts in money management. But do you know how best to choose a financial planner? We’ve put together some helpful tips to follow throughout your selection process, so you can ensure you get the most return on investment from your hire. Here’s a look:
- Know what you need: What are you looking for in a financial planner? Are you looking for someone to help you save for retirement or plan your estate? Did you recently inherit a large sum of money that you’re looking to invest in the market? Do you need a strategy to save for your child’s college? Do you want someone that can help you with all of the above? Many financial planners have specialties in specific areas of money management, while others are more of a Jack-of-all-trades. Make sure you know what you want out of a financial planner so your needs can best be met.
- Certification matters: We’d strongly caution you from working with anyone who is not a certified financial planner, or CFP. CFPs are licensed and regulated, so you can be sure you’re working with someone that’s received the proper training in various aspects of financial planning. This is the most prestigious certification in financial planning, as professionals have to pass a test and their credentials are regulated by a Board of Standards. Additionally, make sure any planner you’re considering is a fiduciary. This means they’ve pledged to work in their client’s best interests at all times.
- Consider pay structure: How your financial planner is paid is another key consideration you’ll have to decide on. Some take a percentage of any increase in the accounts they manage for you each year. Other require an hourly fee or a flat fee based on a particular account they’re working with. There’s not necessarily a good or bad payment method, just the one that’s best for your specific situation. Make sure you know all of your options before you sign on with anyone.
- Do your homework for leads: Ask around to see if any of your friends or family recommend a particular financial planner, as word of mouth referrals are usually the best testament of a quality planner. Aside from this, we strongly recommend you perform some additional checks on any planner you’re considering. Start with a simple Google search to learn about their credentials, and ensure that all of their information is up to date. From there, you might even ask specific planners you’re considering for a list of references or current clients that you could speak with. While it’s true you can always fire your financial planner if your needs are not met, we like the “hire slow, fire fast” strategy so you can best make sure you’re getting the right candidate on the first shot.
- Personality: Obviously, how well you get along with any prospective planners will – and should – go a long way toward your final decision. You want a planner that’s going to be honest with you. It’s why you should always be wary of anyone who’s overly boisterous about their expertise and/or accomplishments. You want someone that’s going to provide good advice based on your financial goals, not someone who’s driven to always beat the market.
A good financial planner works as an extension of your household. They can help you not just meet your goals, but exceed them. That’s why it’s so important to find the right planner for your specific situation and/or state in life. Following the aforementioned tips is a good way to put you on the right track.