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What to look for in the right financial advisor

We want to trust the people we give our money to, whether it’s our accountants, stockbrokers or bankers. We do not want people to betray our trust and abuse their power for financial gain.

One of the largest groups of people we trust is our financial advisors. We depend on them to counsel us and determine our financial decisions into retirement. Believing the wrong person may lead to more than economic harm; it may result in financial ruin.

Four details to look for in a financial advisor

Our finances are a crucial component of our estate plans. In the wrong hands, it leaves us without money to fund our life after retirement. Luckily, investigate before hiring a financial advisor:

  1. Credentials – Most financial advisors take time to receive certifications in the Certified Financial Planner designation or register as a broker or investment advisor with the Investment Advisor Public Disclosure. You can quickly check their registration at BrokerCheck, an online tool.
  2. Complaints – Along with registration, most accusations are filed into online databases for future customers. You can look through an advisor’s complaint history to determine if they have a pattern for misconduct.
  3. Conflict of interests – You want to identify how an advisor is compensated to understand how they may have potential conflicts of interest. For example, if a financial advisor is solely commission-based, it more likely to see a conflict of interest because they have to put their interests first. It’s not always the case, but it’s a detail to be aware of for hiring.
  4. Client relationships – The right advisor holds professional relationships with their clients. They want to put your interests first through realistic expectations. If an advisor offers a guarantee for extremely high returns, you may want to go into a new direction.

With a small investigation, you realize that not all advisors are created equal. You need to look at all the potential representatives in your area and decide who is going to help you reach your financial goals in the upcoming years.

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