Finding a financial planner is a scary process. Kind of like finding a hairdresser, but the hairdresser decision is MUCH more important. You have similar questions in the relationship. Will I be listened to? Is this person competent and experienced? Will the result leave me confident or depressed? Will he/she try to upsell me products I don’t need to pad his/her commission check?
So, then, the finding of the right planner (and hairdresser) takes a little trial and error, requests for recommendations from your friends, and, could require a change occasionally.
Referrals are the most common way that people find financial planners and also the major way that financial planners grow their businesses. So, a good way to start your search may be to ask a friend or family (one that seems financially comfortable) who they use.
There are several professional organizations that have Planner Search tools on their websites. You can enter your zip code and some parameters of what you are looking for in a relationship and see who comes up. Some well-known sources are:
The Financial Planning Association: http://www.plannersearch.org/
Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards: www.letsmakeaplan.org
National Association of Professional Financial Planners: www.napfa.org
Prepare to interview more than one person before finding the right fit. Ask questions about the planner’s experience, education, customer service, and investment philosophy. Find out how the planner gets paid and how much you will be paying for financial advice.
Finding a financial planner isn’t easy, but it is worth it!
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