6 Ways to Find a Financial Advisor – Overview
Of all the steps you take to ensure your future financial well-being, finding a financial advisor could well be one of the most critical.
To find a financial advisor is easy, but to find a great one is more difficult.
The more time, research and care you devote to this task, the more confident you can be that the advice you're receiving regarding your money and savings is beneficial to your financial health.
Talk to Your Bank
Many banks have different types of financial advisory services included in their internal offerings, and your bank should be one of the first places you go when looking to find a financial advisor.
Although many people think of a financial advisor as being an independent professional from the banking system, working with someone from your bank can offer a few advantages.
- You already have an established relationship with the bank.
- Your bank has an excellent picture of the state of your finances before the conversation about financial advice even begins.
- You'll save money on transfer fees and similar extra expenses if you can conduct some of your investing with the financial institution where you already keep most of your money.
- Once you've started investing, you will find it easier to monitor the complete picture of your finances because all of your holdings will be run through your bank, rather than spread out across other brokerages and accounts.
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
If you're looking to find a financial advisor who will give you unbiased advice, then you might want to look for NAPFA members in your area.
The thing that sets NAPFA members apart from other financial advisors out there is that they don't take commission.
Advisors either make an hourly fee, or get paid commission on the products that they sell.
The problem with commission based financial advisors is that while some of them very well may have your best interests at heart, others may be working primarily to serve their own interests.
This means they will try to sell you products and services they make the most commission from, regardless of whether or not it makes the most financial sense for you.
You avoid that risk with NAPFA members.
Although not everyone uses a financial advisor there is a good chance that someone in your personal circle does.
When the time comes for you to find a financial advisor you should put the word out to your friends and business colleagues that you're on the lookout and see if anyone has any recommendations.
If you have people in your circle who have a planner they recommend, ask a few questions about their advisor before you request a meeting.
Find out how the planner is paid. Find out what certifications, memberships and credentials the planner might have. Finally, find out if they specialize in any one type of client, and see if that specialty fits within your own financial situation and goals.
There are now online services that connect advisors with individuals searching for financial advisors.
This option might not be for everyone.
However, it offers a good option for certain members of lower income brackets to get some financial advice.
When you try to find a financial advisor, you may discover that certain financial advisors only deal with clients that reach certain net worth thresholds.
This can immediately exclude many people who could greatly benefit from financial help.
Online services can be authentic and valid places to find advisors. When finding a financial advisor online make sure to check their certifications and credentials to make sure they're authentic before discussing financial matters with them.
There are also websites that help to connect you with a qualified financial advisor who works in your local area.
This provides the convenience of locating an advisor online, but allows you the peace of mind that a face-to-face meeting brings many people.
Paladin is one such website that provides this service.
NAPFA has a directory of advisors, and the Garrett Planning Network is another resource worth investigating.
You still need to do your due diligence once you meet with your planner, but these directories take a lot of the leg work out of the process when you're trying to find a financial advisor.
Referrals from Other Financial Professionals
Apply this strategy if you already have a financial professional in another area that you're very happy with.
This could be an insurance or mortgage broker, for example.
The odds are that they know other professionals across the breadth of the financial industry, and they can be a great source for referrals to financial advisors.
If nothing else, this method can be used to gather a list of names for to use a starting point on your search to finding a financial advisor.