There is so much information and financial advice out there, that it can be difficult to narrow down your choices when you are looking for a financial adviser. This may cause some people to put off finding someone who can help them with taxes, retirement and saving for their kids’ college, but time is definitely money when it comes to financial management and planning. Many decide to go it alone, but this can lead to errors that may be hard to fix later on, and no one wants to make a mistake on taxes.
Making a List of Candidates
You should start by making a list of possible candidates and narrow it down. A simple Google search might seem like a good first step, but make sure you narrow it down to your area, since you will most likely want to find a financial adviser who is in close proximity to where you live and work. LinkedIn is a favorite way to find products and services, since you get a full picture of the adviser from his or her profile, as well as helpful reviews. A valuable resource for people searching for financial advisers in Canada is Advocis.
Despite all of the technology at our fingertips, one of the best ways to find reliable financial advisers is still word of mouth. Review sites provide feedback, but it is hard to know if these reviews are truly from clients. If a relative or a friend seems happy with their financial adviser, ask them for more information. Once you have made a list of advisers you have found through the internet, your neighborhood or from friends, do research on them by consulting their website or asking them questions on the phone.
What to Ask a Potential Financial Adviser
Knowing what questions to ask is half the battle in finding the right financial adviser. One of the first decisions you will have to make is whether you want to hire a fee-based or a commission-based adviser. Each approach carries its relative advantages and disadvantages. With a fee-based adviser, you pay a set amount at regular intervals, and commission-based advisers get a certain percentage of returns. The latter may be more motivated to maximize your investment, and may be a good choice if you want to invest in stocks, for instance. However, if you have a more conservative approach to your finances or need an adviser mainly for taxes, a fee-based adviser fits the bill.
You will want to make an appointment with the prospective adviser and ask what kind of services are provided. You may be interested mainly in retirement, and in that case, look for an adviser or firm that concentrates most of his or her energies into saving for retirement. Also ask what kind of certification and credentials he or she has. Research different types of financial advisers. For instance, there are certified financial advisers who are distinct from a chartered financial consultant. Ask about other distinctions or awards, for instance, if your adviser is on the 2016 FT300 Adviser List.
Focus on the Relationship
Your financial adviser should be focused on working for you, and not just for making big returns for the firm and expanding his or her clout. That is why it is important to ask your potential adviser at the meeting how often he or she will meet with you personally. Some people feel disappointed when, after a successful first session, they have to meet with a new person representing the firm each time. It is vital to establish how often you will see your adviser, how often you will be able to contact him or her and if you will be meeting with the same person each time. While many people like to work with large firms that have stellar reputations, the personal touch is also important.
Just as your adviser needs to get to know his or her clients, you also should get to know your adviser. Ask what kind of clients are represented. Does he or she tend to work with wealthy clients that have a high net worth or families trying to make ends meet and save for college? Discuss with your adviser his or her philosophy of investing and make sure it jibes with yours. Do you like to take some risks or are you a conservative investor? The right adviser should feel the same way as you do about finances.
Making the Right Choice
It is worth investing the time you need into finding the right financial adviser, because it is a decision that affects not only you in the present time, but your family in the future. Do research and ask pertinent questions to ensure you choose a financial adviser who can grow your investments and give you peace of mind.