You might think that you don’t need a financial planner. Many people are convinced that they can do their own research, come to their own decisions and decide the best way to invest or use their money.
That might true for you. But unless you are knowledgeable about both the legal and financial consequences of how to move and use money then choosing to handle your own finances might be a costly mistake.
If you do decide to seek the services of a financial planner, you will be entrusting someone to help you make the most important and long-lasting financial decisions in terms that affect not only you but also your family. For these reasons, you need to choose a financial planner with care and caution.
Here are some questions to help you choose a financial planner:
1. Ask about qualifications. Many people use the term “financial planner” so it’s important to learn exactly if an individual has had any kind of training in the field. Look for someone who holds certification as a Certified Financial Planner or a Certified Public Accountant-Personal Financial Specialist (CPA-PFS).
2. Learn if the financial planner represents the investment products of only one company or many companies. Does the planner hold the appropriate licenses to sell securities and stocks? Does the planner provide advice only or also sell products?
3. Learn how you will be billed for services. Are you paying a fee for the counsel of a planner or will there be commission fees based on the sale of products such as insurance or funds? Are the services of the planner being paid by an institution such as a bank or are the planner’s “fees” rolled into the administrative fees of whatever products or investments you choose?
4. Does the planner work alone or in consultation with other professionals?
5. What assessment of risk or income needs has the planner made? Is the planner working to arrange a financial plan based on your individual needs or simply providing services on a sales basis?
6. Be sure you are dealing with a qualified and reputable financial planner by contacting these groups:
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.
North American Securities Administrators Association
202-737-0900 • www.nasaa.org
National Association of Insurance Commissioners
816-842-3600 • www.naic.org
National Association of Securities Dealers
Don’t place your trust or finances into the hands of a stranger without doing some research and digging for facts. To do anything less could prove to be a very costly mistake.