For several years you have managed your money well, but right now something has complicated your life. Perhaps a significant legacy has emerged. You may have a new medical challenge. You may want to make sure that your money can last through retirement. What advice would you seek? You can turn to someone who has given you good advice in the past as a friend or family member or one financial planner.
- What to ask a financial planner?
What is a financial planner?
It’s a generic title, and not in itself an identification. (Other generic titles are “Financial Analyst”;, “Financial Advisor”, “Financial Consultant” and “Wealth Manager.”)
For financial planners to get a certificate of those must have a license to sell investments and licensed in each state where they operate. To get a professional designation, they then take additional courses; In order to retain the designation, they must meet the requirement for further training. The roads vary for the 214 (yes, so many!) “Professional designations” listed by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Want to know the meaning of the abbreviations after the name of the financial planner? Go to https://www.finra.org/investors/professional-designations. You will find the full name of the designation. “Show details” shows you the qualifications to get the designation.
Why did you find this on FINRA.org? Because it monitors all securities licenses, administers the exam and implements disciplinary action.
How to find a financial planner
Ask people you know who they would recommend and why that person was valuable to them. Ask a local lawyer or accountant. An internet search for “find a financial advisor” provides links to specialized databases. You can discover the background to the advisors you acquired at https: //email@example.com and www.adviserinfo.sec.gov.
What to ask a financial planner
1st “What types of investments do you have a license to offer your customers? “
2. “If your company has its own ‘brand’ of investments, what percentage of your customers own such investments?”
3. “How much of your practice is focused on retirement income and property planning?”
4. Ask a question you know the answer to to see how this person communicates. For example, if you know the difference between Exchange Traded Funds and Mutual Funds, you can judge if their explanation is clear or if they are condescending to you.
5. “What is your process for analyzing my situation and developing recommendations for me?”
6. “If you make a mistake or an investment did not work as you expected, what do you tell me?”
7. “Do I pay for your advice through fees or commissions?”
charges may be charged for drawing up a financial plan and / or for hourly consultations. Annual fees can be assessed on assets under management. Planners can receive commissions when investing in annuities, mutual funds or variable life insurance or other investments.
If you feel that a planner is driving you to a product so that the planner can make more money, leave. Planners should explain how a particular investment leads you to your goals. You may ask, “What other investments can make that job? Why is this better?” Appropriate answers make you feel more confident that the recommendation is right for you.
Planners who only have a fee can provide an analysis but not specific enough recommendations to implement the next step.
Note well: Charges? Commission? Which designation is best? No payment method or designation buys integrity, ethical behavior, character, pure objectivity, caring or intelligent advice.
Profitable financial planning is based on trust, honest communication and appropriate follow-up. You trust the planner to do what is best for you. The planner trusts his or her reputation with you. You are a team that works towards your goals!
Penelope S. Tzougros, PhD, ChFC, CLU. In all 50 states, Penelope S. Tzougros is registered with, and securities and advisory services are offered through, LPL Financial, a registered investment adviser, member FINRA / SIPC.
Photo by Dmitry Demidko on Unsplash