A financial advisor sits behind a desk during a consultation.

You can’t control much in life, but you have the power to choose your financial advisor.  You want someone you can trust.  If you’re ever concerned or confused about your financial plan, it’s a good idea to consult an expert.

A financial advisor gets a private look into your life.  Honesty and experience should be paramount characteristics. The advisor should uphold ethical standards in every area of their counsel.

It’s okay to shop around to find your best fit – take your time finding someone who will have your complete confidence.

Start with referrals

Check to see if the advisor has legitimate client testimonials. Searching online is a great start, but you can also request client reviews from a potential advisor. They may have happy clients willing to share their experience.

Sort through testimonials for anything that sounds “too good to be true”.  Instead, look for straightforward testimonials from real people.

Consider your financial needs

Are you focused on investments or retirement savings? Find an advisor who specializes in the specific expertise you need. If you have multiple needs, find an advisor who can refer you to trusted partners.

Some advisors may have a sample plan available for review.  Ask about the advisor’s typical approach to personal finance. Is there a general method they prefer? If so, ask them why they recommend that approach.

Use your free consultation wisely

A consultation is an opportunity for you and your potential advisor to learn about each other.  This should be a no-pressure, friendly experience.  If you feel the situation is pushy or making you uncomfortable, you have every right to not schedule a follow-up consultation. Be sure to take notes and ask questions.

Ask about credentials

Check to see if your advisor has the correct licensing for the services they’re providing and follow industry regulations. Financial planners should have their certifications prominently displayed. Ask what other certifications and credentials they might have.

A financial advisor and his client sit at their laptops during a planning session.

Ask about the client base

Are their typical clients similar to you and your financial background? Is the typical client interest in investments or are they more focused on retirement? Are they younger professionals or pre-retirees?

Even if you’re not an exact fit with the usual clientele, your advisor should still help you. They should be helpful and accommodating as long as they’re qualified in the area you need.

Take notice of red flags

One-size-fits-all solutions are a red flag. The right advisor will take the time to analyze your unique financial situation – they won’t be pushy.  Always ask for the reason behind their method. If there’s nothing to back it up, it’s time to move on. If the situation seems shady, it most likely is.

Don’t be afraid to ask about charging

A responsible advisor should be clear about the payment structure.  A payment structure is the fee your advisor will bill you. You can ask why it’s set a certain way. If you’re not comfortable with the payment structure, research what ‘s typically charged in your area by other advisors.

Ask how they will they keep in contact

Ask what the follow-up process entails. Will you have regular meeting or reporting? Accountability and communication should be prioritized.

Choose an advisor who is invested in you

Once you’ve covered all the basics, ask yourself if your advisor made you feel welcome and confident in their knowledge. Did they take the time to really listen to you? Did they ask questions to help them learn more about you? A good advisor will make you feel cared for.

Let us know how we can help you. Meet with our team at a Blackburn seminar to see how we can help you with retirement planning, estate planning, and more.