If it hasn’t happened already, there will likely come a point in your life where you decide to seek the guidance of a professional for either investment help, financial planning, or both. Unlike when hiring a professional to do your hair or to check under the hood of your car – services we don’t feel the need to know much about – there is a retained sense of responsibility when it comes to hiring someone to help with money. It is of paramount importance to select the right advisor in order to best setup your financial future, so, as financial advisors ourselves, we wanted to share our perspective on the important elements to think about when it comes to finding your perfect match.
Now, finding someone to help you with your finances can certainly be a little stressful. You may think you need help with one thing and end up walking away with a whole other to-do list. It is similar to getting a massage, you go in with a knot in your back, but your masseuse keeps working on your legs and telling you to stretch your hamstrings more. It’s because all our muscles are connected and a kink in one is likely due to another. The same concept can be applied to finding the right financial advisor. You go in for assistance with one of your financial goals and end up with a list of seemingly unrelated things to help you reach that goal. So how do you find an advisor that meets your needs?
Let’s define: What is a financial advisor?
A financial advisor is a professional who helps individuals manage their finances by providing advice on money issues such as budgeting, investments, insurance, debt, college savings, estate planning, taxes, retirement planning, etc.
Who needs a financial advisor?
Every adult! No matter how much money you have, there are financial aspects of your life that will benefit from the help of a financial advisor. If you start using an advisor at a younger age, the initial conversations will likely be centered on starting an emergency fund, investing in your company’s 401(k) plan, and taking advantage of compounding growth. As you get older, the conversations will shift to insurance needs, saving for college, estate and retirement planning.
How do I choose a financial advisor?
Before searching for an advisor, know your personal deal breakers. What do you want, need or expect from this professional? Then, start by asking friends and family for recommendations. Peruse the advisor’s website to scope out the services he or she offers, get a feel for the approach the advisor’s company takes when providing investment and financial planning services, and go in for a meeting to see if the advisor is a good fit (the first visit should be complimentary). In your initial meeting, we recommend asking a few key questions:
- What services do you provide? Investment advice, financial and retirement planning, insurance, others?
- Does your regulatory body (i.e. SEC or FINRA) hold you and your firm to the Fiduciary Standard of Care? (This means that the advisor must do what is in your best interest as the client, above their own)
- What can I expect to pay in feeds and/or commissions? (This question ties into Question #2 above…be sure you do not fall victim to hidden fees and commissions that take away from the return of your investments!)
- What reputable third-party custodian(s) do you use for client accounts?
- What additional educational resources do you offer to your clients and their families/children?
It may take some trial and error, but you want to feel a level of trust and respect between yourself and your financial advisor, they are managing your money after all. Take your time, find the person that understands your goals and is ready to help you achieve them; then you know you have found your perfect match!
Important Disclosure: This material has been provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice or as a recommendation. When referenced, Beacon Pointe does not endorse and is not responsible for the content, product, or services of other third-party sources. Beacon Pointe does not offer legal or tax advice. Private legal counsel alone may be responsible and relied upon for these purposes. Only private legal counsel may recommend the application of this general information to any particular situation or prepare an instrument chosen to implement the design discussed herein. CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, this notice is to inform you that any tax advice included in this communication, including any attachments, is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalty or promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter.