Money management can be downright intimidating, especially if you’re struggling with debt, starting a new business, or attempting to figure out investing for the first time. Whether you’re thinking about purchasing a home or retirement income planning, but you feel stuck in your current position, you might want to seek help from a professional financial advisor.
Financial advisors give you direction when you feel lost and help you make informed decisions, which is crucial if you want to avoid financial problems in the future.
Provided that you hire the right financial advisor for your needs, of course. Finding the right financial advisor is no easy task, especially if you don’t have anyone to recommend a reputable firm.
In this article, we guide you through the process of choosing a financial advisor that suits your needs.
Determine What Kind of Service You Need
Making some financial decisions requires the experience and expertise of a financial professional. If you’re overwhelmed by your financial issues and don’t know how to move towards your goal, you could use the services of a professional advisor.
The key to finding the right financial advisor lies in determining what sort of money management help you need. Are you looking to start planning for your retirement? Do you want to create an estate plan or start investing?
Perhaps you need help with budgeting or figuring out how to pay off your debt?
Why is this important? Because not all financial advisors offer the same services. Knowing what you need help with will bring you one step closer to finding your ideal advisor.
Know the Types of Financial Advisors
The term is somewhat broad and there are several types of financial advisors. It is important to make a distinction between them.
Some financial advisors specialize in one field and do not provide comprehensive financial services. For example, some may offer investment management services but not financial planning services. On the other hand, some advisors offer their expertise in the field of retirement planning or wealth accumulation.
This is why it is so important to determine the type of financial service you need before you start looking for an advisor.
Advisors in reputable firms such as Opes Fidelio usually offer most of these services and will work with you to identify your financial needs first.
Financial planning services have evolved and can now be offered at a low cost through these digital platforms called robo-advisors. What these platforms do is collect financial information about clients in order to provide advice and handle investing for you.
Some of these robo-advisors are entirely automated while others include human assistance. One of the advantages of robo-advisors is the low cost which enables almost anyone to use these platforms. The downside is the lack of in-person human interaction that traditional financial advisory offers.
Check Their Credentials
Anyone can set up a website and claim they offer bespoke financial services. In the sea of “money management experts”, it can be difficult to discern quality advisors from those who are only after your money.
Checking their credentials is, therefore, a must. Their credentials are proof that they have passed the necessary exams that prove their knowledge in a field relevant to the service they provide. Such credentials are CFP (certified financial planner) and PFS (personal financial specialist).
If a financial advisor is a CFP professional, you can rest assured they have gone through the training and education required to provide quality financial services.
Advisors who obtain the CFP credentials must adhere to the CFP Board’s code and standards which imply a professional must act in the client’s best interests and place a client’s interests above their own or their company’s interests.
Inquire About Their Pay Structure
Not all financial advisors are compensated equally. Based on the way they’re compensated, there are two main types of financial advisors: fee-only and commission-only advisors.
Fee-only financial planners charge a fee for their services. This can be a flat fee, hourly fee, or even a monthly fee. One of the major benefits of hiring a fee-only advisor is transparency. There are no hidden fees or commissions so you know exactly how much you will pay.
Commission only financial advisors, as the name suggests, are paid in commissions on the products they sell. That means they get paid when a client purchases a specific product. The risk associated with this pay structure is that you can’t be certain if the advisor is acting in your best interests since their compensation is commission-based.
However, a commission-only financial advisor who adheres to the code of ethics (as per fiduciary rules), is still obliged to act in your best interests.