Have you been thinking about working with a financial planner?
More and more Americans are.
A financial planner can help you secure your financial future, but choosing the planner that’s right for you isn’t always an easy decision.
I recommend that you interview and evaluate several financial planners before making a decision. When you do, ask the following 10 questions:
1. What experience do you have?
Find out how long the planner has been in practice and where he or she has worked. Look for a financial planner who has several years’ experience in counseling individuals about their financial needs.
2. What are your qualifications?
The term “financial planner” is used by many financial professionals. Ask the planner what qualifies him or her to offer financial planning advice and whether the planner holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(tm) certification.
3. What services do you offer?
Some planners are licensed to sell financial products. Others offer financial planning advice but do not sell financial products. Still others may provide advice only in specific areas, such as estate planning or on tax matters.
4. What is your approach to financial planning?
Will the planner develop one plan that brings together all financial goals, or provide advice on specific areas as needed? Either way, make sure the planner follows a financial planning process that focuses on needs and goals first, before recommending a course of action or a product.
5. Will you be the only person working with me?
If not, ask to meet the other professionals. Get a list of their names to check backgrounds.
6. How will I pay for your services?
Planners can be paid in several ways, including a salary, fees, commissions, or a combination of these. Expect the planner to clearly disclose in writing how he or she will be compensated.
7. How much do you typically charge?
The planner should be able to provide an estimate of possible costs based on the work to be performed.
8. Could anyone besides me benefit from your recommendations?
Ask the planner to provide a description of any relationships that could pose a conflict of interest.
9. Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your professional career?
Learn what organizations the planner is regulated by and contact these groups to conduct a background check.
10. Can I have it in writing?
Ask for a written agreement that details the services that will be provided.