Finding the right fit: How to choose the right financial planner for you
No matter what your financial goals are, consulting with a financial planner can help just about everybody. Not only will they help you refine your goals, they’ll guide you in creating strategies for your money, and keep you accountable to your plan. They’ll also help you navigate different saving and investment strategies, so you know your money is working for you.
They’ll also make sure you have the information you need to make the best financial decisions for your circumstances, so you can grow your wealth and increase your financial security.
If you’re looking for a financial planner, these tips can help you find the best person to meet your unique needs.
Be clear about your goals
Most people’s big financial goals fall into the following areas:
- Buying a home
- Paying for higher education (for themselves or their children)
But along the way a lot of other events come up that pull our financial focus, such as buying a car, paying for a trip, or covering expensive home repairs. Whether your goal is to build up your emergency savings account, pay for the trip of a lifetime, or fund your retirement, a financial planner can help you allocate your money wisely.
Before you start searching for a financial planner, list your financial goals, long-term and short-term. That will give you the framework for finding someone whose expertise matches your objectives.
Check their qualifications
There’s no shortage of financial planners out there to choose from – but not every planner is licensed, or has the right credentials, training, or experience to meet your needs.
With your goals in mind, start researching financial planners in your area who hold relevant professional designations and appropriate qualifications. Check online to see if there’s a complaint record against them, or information that doesn’t match the claims they make. Where you find the complaint record may depend on the government body that oversees their work.
Ask your friends and family for referrals – ideally people you trust who are in the same stage of life as you are. Visit each financial planner’s website and look for testimonials from people whose circumstances are similar to yours. Double check with the appropriate certifying body that they have the required qualifications.
Make a list of candidates and interview at least three financial planners. When you do, ask what qualifications they have, what their approach is, what services they include, and how they can help you achieve your goals.
Additionally, inquire about
- what products they offer (and make sure they have the proper certifications to sell them),
- how they’ll keep you informed,
- how they decide on appropriate investments or strategies for their clients,
- whether they’ve ever been disciplined by a regulator (again, you can often verify their answer to this last question online), and
- how they’ve helped clients in situations similar to yours.
Find out their payment structure
Financial planners may charge you for services in a variety of ways, including:
- An hourly fee
- A fee based on the value of your assets under their management
- A commission or trading fee based on buying stock or investments for you
- A salary from their employer (such as those who work through banks)
- Statement of Advice fee — A one-off fee for preparing your Statement of Advice. This fee is either paid up-front and deducted from your investments, or added to ongoing fees for service.
You need to know how they’re paid and what they charge so you can determine if their advice is in any way influenced by outside factors.
Whether you’re looking for help with investment planning, estate planning, retirement planning or other financial guidance, choosing the right financial planner is key to you taking control of your finances. You want someone who understands your financial goals, is experienced in the areas you want guidance, and who you feel comfortable talking openly with.
Contact us today to book a consultation with one of our experienced financial planners, so you can get started on your journey to financial freedom.