The need of a financial expert in your personal life is as important as earning your livelihood. What you earn has to be distributed in the right manner in order to meet your life goals. Retirement planning, investments, family finances, estate plans, insurance coverage etc. are elements which are difficult to manage yourself as you may not have the required expertise.
With regulatory changes and increasing awareness on these financial elements, the demand for broad-based services has increased. This has led bankers, brokers, insurance agents and accountants to project themselves as Financial Consultants, Financial Advisor, Financial Planner, investment consultant, investment advisors and so on. Every service provider claims to provide the best financial planning services.
Whether the claims are trustworthy or not is a very difficult task to ascertain for the consumers. A consumer is looking for an assurance that the financial planner he has chosen holds the required experience, expertise and above all integrity for managing his finances. So, how does one choose a financial planner? Although there are no pre-defined criteria for choosing a financial planner, the following points will help in taking the decision.
1. Your Current Situation: Before meeting any financial planner, analyze where you stand today. This will give you an idea what your needs are as there are many options when it comes to financial advice. You may want to get assistance on a specific area of concern like debt management or it could be Comprehensive Financial Planning itself.
2. Credentials: Check the credentials of the financial planner. Does he/she have the proper education and proper license? Does the financial planner have the required experience to guide you in your personal financial decisions? What ethics is he/she following while advising you? What are their processes? All these questions will refine your search criteria. You could even speak to clients of the planner to ascertain the level of satisfaction that they have.
3. Fees: Look at what is the mode of earning for the Financial Planner- Is it a commission or fee + commission or only fee. At all stages a fee-based planner will be the best bet for you as his/her interest will lie in meeting your financial goals.
4. Affiliation: Check out with whom a financial planner is associated with – a firm, bank or any other institution. Because many a times institution restrict the type of products and advise that these planners can offer to the client. This might be a concern for you and in that case a Private CFP Practitioner will be the best bet for you.
5. Recommendation: You can speak to family members and friends who have used the services of a Financial Planner in the past. If someone had a good experience with a financial planner, the probability of you having the same experience is higher. The other method of getting a recommendation is through internet. Most of the financial planners’ have their blogs or they write in media. From quality of articles written by these planners, you can gauge the quality of advice they offer.