06 Oct How do I Find a Financial Planner?
Back again to share more expert financial advice is Kristi Sullivan! Today she is sharing practical information about how to go about finding a financial planner.
Finding a financial planner can seem like 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.
There are also financial planners out in the community doing pro-bono (free) work.
The Financial Planning Association provides opportunities for financial planners to go out into the community and help those in need. This can take the form of a Financial Planning Day where planners gather a public place and do 20-minute quick appointments with the public. There are also presentations given in association with Money Smart Week. Some news stations offer call-in hours where you can phone in and speak to a planner for free. MoneyLine 9 is an example here in Denver.
Free financial planning events are typically advertised in the local newspaper and on TV and radio in the month leading up to the events. Keep an eye out for flyers at your church or school, too. You can always Google “free financial planning Your City,” but a bunch of sponsored stuff comes up first, so you’ll have to scroll down to get what you are looking for.
Finding a financial planner may not be easy, but it is worth it!