What to look for in a Financial Adviser - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

What to look for in a Financial Adviser

A financial adviser is someone who recommends and provides financial services. The issue is that there are so many options out there and it can be hard to find the best one for you and your needs. The good thing is that there are some questions you can ask and information you can gather in order to make your decision easier. Start by taking a high-level look at any potential adviser, such as this overview of Fisher Investments. From there you can start looking into some of the following factors to further narrow down your list of options.

Experience
One of the most important things to consider when looking for a financial adviser is what experience they have. Not only do you want to ask about the length of experience, but you want to ask about the areas they have experience in. Keep in mind, you don’t want to choose someone just because they have a few years of very broad experience. There’s the chance that they’ve never worked in the specific niche you need. The best thing to do is know exactly what you need and find someone who has a decent amount of experience in that area.

Cost-Level
You’ll also want to know what the adviser’s cost-level is. Unfortunately, not everyone can hire an adviser without considering price. Since that’s the case, it’s important to see what the cost is and figure out which ones can fit in your budget. Keep in mind, prices are going to be different between advisers and some might have different price tiers depending on what services they offer. Regardless, you should get an in-depth explanation of what the adviser’s prices are and what’s included in each tier. If you notice that the prices won’t fit into your budget, you can cross them off and consider the next adviser on your list.

Know the Type
You’ll also want to know the type of adviser you want and need. There are three main types, which are: robo, online and traditional. The robo-advisers are the cheapest and easiest to find. They are best used when you need something simple, but don’t have the funds or desire for an entire financial plan. Next, the online advisers are mid-cost and great when you need an entire financial plan that’s cheaper than that from a traditional adviser. Finally, a traditional adviser is the highest cost and is the best option when you need a plan that’s complex or you need to meet your adviser in person. Make sure you know exactly what you need, so you can get the best adviser for you.

Services
The services of different advisers will vary, which means you might find one that offers services that others don’t. As a result of this, you want to make sure you ask the adviser you’re considering the exact services they offer. You’ll want to either write them down or see if the adviser can send you some kind of paperwork detailing the services. You also want to make sure you ask what is included in each service because it might differ from adviser to adviser. Knowing this information will help you narrow down your choices even more and find the one that’s going to meet your needs.

Extra Fees
Besides asking what their normal fees are, you’ll also want to see what kind of extra fees you might have to pay. This includes any type of hourly fees they may have or any fees they charge at the end of the process. Knowing this can make or break your decision and not getting this info could cost you thousands of extra dollars you didn’t count on. Keep in mind, if the adviser doesn’t want to tell you or if it seems like they’re beating around the bush or being shady, you may just want to go with someone else. These types of people aren’t usually ones you want to work with.

Reviews/Reputation
By looking online or talking to people you know you’ll get some better insight into how well the adviser does and whether or not it’s worth it to work with them. Try and get information from people who aren’t biased because you don’t want someone sugar-coating things. You want to work with an adviser that’s truly fantastic at their job and not one that has good reviews as a result of biased people. You might have to talk to a lot of people and read a lot of reviews, but you’ll have a much better understanding of what kind of person the adviser is in the long run.

Qualifications/Certifications
Another thing to look for is what qualifications or certifications the adviser has. The last thing you want is to work with an adviser that claims they have certain certifications or qualifications when they don’t. While this usually won’t bring about any kind of criminal issues, you could end up losing out on a lot of money. The best thing to do is ask them about these things and see if they’ll provide actual evidence, such as photos or copies of their certifications. If possible, try looking them up on national registries to make sure they actually have what they say they do.

Payment Terms
Finally, ask about what the adviser’s payment terms are. This includes things like when they expect to pay and how they accept payment. Some advisers might expect you to pay up-front, while others might expect payments throughout the process or at the very end. In terms of how payment is accepted, it’s going to depend on the individual adviser. One might only accept cash, while others might accept checks. Make sure you know the requirements so you don’t end up in a difficult spot.

By asking these questions, you’ll be able to narrow down the pool of advisers and find the one that works best for you. It’s important to look at multiple advisers because different ones will offer different things. It might take a little while, but you’ll be able to find one that can help you meet all your financial needs.





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