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How to Choose a Financial Planner

Key Takeaways

  • A financial professional’s credentials will help you understand what services they’re trained to provide.
  • Having a professional with a similar philosophy to yours is likely to reduce stress over how your assets are being managed.
  • Visit with more than one prospect rather than signing on with the first planner you meet so you can do an appropriate comparison.

A financial planner can be a valuable resource to help you reach your financial goals. They offer professional advice through a personalized financial strategy that can help you navigate the future, while also updating your strategy when you experience a life change or shift your goals.

However, not all financial planners are created equal. It’s important to find the person that you trust and can best position you for success.

How do you do this? Here are five questions to consider when choosing your financial planner.

1. What are their credentials?

Ask any prospective financial planner what training or certifications they’ve received. Some include Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). A financial professional’s credentials will help you understand what services they’re trained to provide, helping you match your goals with the appropriate professional.

You can also ask how many years of experience they have to help you gauge their level of expertise.

2. What is their investment philosophy?

Part of choosing the proper financial planner is feeling comfortable with the approach of the professional and the investment firm as a whole. It’s important that the financial planner’s attitude toward risk mirrors your risk tolerance so you trust them to make the proper decisions while managing your portfolio. Having a professional with a similar philosophy to yours will likely reduce stress over how your assets are being managed.

3. How often do they communicate with clients?

Make sure you’re comfortable with the amount of contact you’ll have with your financial planner. If you’re an experienced investor, you might feel comfortable with one or two meetings a year. On the other hand, you might prefer quarterly meetings to assure that your portfolio is in good standing.

4. How do they charge for services?

There are a variety of fees that financial planners charge for their services. Some charge a percentage based on the amount of assets they manage, while others work on commission. They could charge a combination of fees and commission, while others charge an hourly rate if you prefer advice as opposed to management.

5. Is this someone you feel comfortable with?

Remember that your financial planner will help you map out your future, so it’s important that you feel comfortable relaying all of your personal history, dreams, and fears to this person to help them best represent you.

Do they appear to have your best interests in mind? Do they dominate the conversation or let you speak? Ask yourself these questions before signing off on any professional relationship. It’s also important that you visit with more than one prospect rather than signing on with the first planner. That way, you can properly evaluate your options rather than rushing into a contract.

More information

Working alongside a financial professional can help you navigate the future and reach your potential. To learn how our Financial Consultants and Private Wealth Advisors can help you plan for the future, please call 1-800-242-2224, visit us online, or visit your nearest Citizens Bank branch.

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