Choosing to work with a financial adviser is a huge decision. In essence, you are putting your financial security in the hands of an outside party, an action that will directly affect your life. Therefore, you want to carefully check out anyone who you are considering hiring. This may seem daunting, but by breaking the research and consideration process down, you can methodically gather the information that will help you make an informed choice about the money professional you eventually decide to hire. Here are ways to research and find a reliable financial adviser.
Decide the Services You Want
Before beginning any research, you need to decide exactly what you want and need from a financial adviser. If you have uncomplicated finances or are just starting out and have a small portfolio, you may want to consider a robo-adviser. For more complicated financial situations, online services or human professionals in your neighborhood may be better choices than automated options.
If you want general advice on insurance coverage, taxes, and estate planning, you should work with a human professional locally or seek out a more specialized financial adviser online. You can work with an individual or an experienced firm.
Consider the Costs
The costs of professional financial services differ depending on the type of professional and the level of expertise your finances require.
- Automated advisers are often the most affordable options. This type of service usually charges a percentage of the balance annually ranging from 0.50 to 0.25 percent.
- Online services offer more individualized and comprehensive financial planning help, usually with access to Certified Financial Planners (CFPs), and this type of service is more expensive than automated help. These services generally charge either a flat fee or a percentage.
- Human advisers can charge either a fee or a percentage, but these professionals sometimes require a larger account balance.
Once you have decided on the basics of the service level you need and what you can afford to pay, the next step is researching specific firms and individuals.
Read Impartial Reviews
Reliable investment sites study the practices of financial planners and publish detailed critiques with insights that can help you choose the right adviser. For example, this review about Fisher Investments includes information like company history, details on their management style and fees and pricing. Reading reviews about working financial professionals is a good way to gain knowledge of the financial services sector as well as learn more about specific individuals and firms.
Seek Out Tips
Reputable financial and business websites such as Forbes.com and Nasdaq.com offer useful articles about the qualities to look for in a financial adviser. These sites and others are also a good way to learn more about the financial sector overall, which empowers you. The more you know about the industry and the way investments work, the more confident you will feel in asking potential financial advisers questions about matters that are important to you. This is vital in order to find someone who wants to help you prosper.
Check for Certifications
Finally, when you find advisers that interest you, check credentials. There are specific certifications to look for but to ensure your best interests are served, look for a money professional who is a fiduciary. This means those individuals and firms are required to look after your best interests, and as such, are held to the highest industry standards.
Verifying credentials is extremely important. There are databases published by regulatory agencies that allow you to search for specific names. If the individual or firm in which you are interested is not included, and you were told otherwise, check directly with the financial planner. Sometimes administrative errors can result in omissions from official lists.
Steps for a Brighter Future
Taking time now to clarify what you want and need from financial planning services and research potential candidates is safeguarding your future. When you hire an investment adviser you want to know that service, person, or firm has your best interests at heart. Some time spent researching now can make for a brighter future.