Do you remember the last time you did your own accounting? Chances are, you don’t, either because you have no knowledge of it or you’re too busy fulfilling your obligations. That’s not a bad thing, especially if you have a lot on your plate. But don’t take your finances for granted; neglect them for too long or you will end up in serious debt or worse, bankrupt.
That said, you would need someone qualified to manage your finances on a regular basis, and hiring a certified financial advisor is your best bet. But finding one is no easy task, which is why this guide exists. It will give you an idea about what a financial advisor is and what they do. Apart from that, you will know several factors you need to consider before you commit to one and the questions you will ask during the appointment itself.
What Is a Financial Advisor?
In a nutshell, financial advisors are finance professionals who offer consulting and advice on an individual or entity’s finances. People or businesses can rely on them to reach their financial goals. Financial advisors come up with strategies and methods to help their clients generate wealth, eliminate debt, and reduce costs, among other responsibilities.
Factors to Consider:
Different types of financial advisors exist on the market, so be sure to choose one that is not only qualified but also works best for you. Consider the following factors during your search:
Amount of Advice Needed
Not everyone is financially literate, which is why the amount of advice needed may greatly vary. Whether you have a financial plan with access to certain financial instruments or you are not sure where to begin, you must ask yourself how much advice you actually need. Doing so will help you determine the kind of financial advisor that fulfills your requirements.
Track Record and Credentials
Experience can be everything. It cannot be taught or found elsewhere, so the number of years that the financial advisor has spent cannot be overlooked. This includes their credentials and track record, which give you a better idea of the financial advisor’s expertise and work ethic.
Range of Services Offered
As mentioned earlier, not all financial advisors are the same; some of them may be well versed in a particular area more than others. Doing your research about your financial advisor is a great start. That way, you will know if your problems match their solutions.
Integrity and Trustworthiness
Honesty is (and will always be) the best policy. You cannot deny integrity, not just in finance but also in life. Remember, you are dealing with money. A lot of it. With that said, make sure the financial advisor is someone whom you can truly trust with your finances.
Questions to Ask:
Once you have decided to commit to a financial advisor, don’t hesitate to ask questions during the initial meeting. They will guide you every step of the way. Doing so will also help you understand your finances in the best way possible and give you a clear picture of them.
Are you a fiduciary?
In layman’s terms, a fiduciary is someone who puts the needs of their clients above their own. Fiduciaries work in their client’s best interest and limit conflicts, should they arise.
How do you get paid?
The fee structures of a financial advisor may vary. In some cases, they will not disclose it, which can be problematic in the long run. As such, make sure you know the amount that you will pay later on. After all, sound financial advice doesn’t grow on trees.
What is your investment philosophy?
Investment styles can differ from person to person. Your financial advisor is no exception. Tell them your priorities or what matters to you. That way, the financial advisor can help you create an evidence-based strategy that aligns with your values.
How will we work together?
By asking this question, you will know about the financial advisor’s process, communication style, and business operations, among other things. You would also want to learn how often you will consult with them and if they are available outside of scheduled appointments.
When it comes to managing finances, working with a certified financial advisor goes a long way. Don’t just go out and hire the nearest or most affordable one available. Consider all the aforementioned factors in choosing one as well as the questions you will ask on the day of the appointment. Do your homework first, and your path to financial freedom will look promising.