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What to look for in a financial adviser.
by Grace S. Yung, CFP
When seeking out savings and investment advice, there are many choices available to you. Yet, it can still be difficult to find the right financial adviser. Just like choosing legal and healthcare professionals, it is important to look for a perfect fit when choosing an adviser to map out your financial future.
This is especially true for LGBT individuals, whose planning needs can be somewhat different. The good news is that there are ways to narrow down whom you work with—a process that can also help you become much more involved in planning for your financial future.
Who’s the Best Person for the Job?
In many ways, choosing the ideal financial adviser can be compared to hiring someone for a job. This makes sense, as the individual who you work with should have experience and expertise, as well as a proven track record. It also helps if he or she possesses additional certifications and is someone you “click” with.
In today’s financial services world, just about anyone can call themselves an adviser. To narrow your search down to the real professionals, start by asking the following questions:
You may consider working with a friend or family member who is a financial adviser. For some, this can work well, as you know that the individual is trustworthy. In other cases, it may be uncomfortable having someone close to you knowing all of your intimate financial details. Here, it is really a personal preference.
“Do You Want the Truth, or What You Want to Hear?”
Once you have chosen an adviser to work with, one of the first orders of business will be to review your current assets. This will typically lead to developing an overall plan. This plan can be viewed as a blueprint of sorts that will help direct you toward your ultimate financial goals.
In some instances, an investor may not have enough to reach their goals within their desired time frame. This could be due to large market losses, improper asset allocation, or from simply not saving enough.
In any case, it is your financial adviser’s duty to tell you whether or not you are on track—even if breaking the news to you may be disappointing and difficult to hear. A truly good financial professional, however, will be able to use what you have as the starting point in developing a new or alternative route for you.
The Bottom Line on Finding Your Ideal Financial Adviser
There are lots of choices when it comes to getting financial advice, and narrowing down whom you should work with can be a challenge. Whether you’re just beginning the process, or you’re seeking out a new professional, you need to keep in mind that you’ll be handing over the reins to the growth, protection, and management of your life savings—so the decision is definitely a big one. The bottom line is that the ideal financial adviser for you will be the one who is not just experienced and professional, but the one who has your best interests at heart.
Personal finance-related questions may be e-mailed to [email protected]
Grace S. Yung, CFP, is a certified financial planner practitioner with experience in helping domestic partners plan their finances since 1994. She is a principal at Midtown Financial LLC in Houston and was recognized as a “Five-Star Wealth Manager” in the 2014 September issue of Texas Monthly.