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What to Look For In a Financial Advisor

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What to Look For In a Financial Advisor

In a society where smart financial living has become a buzzword, it is extremely important that you carefully consider your financial decisions. Although personal finance issues and problems are not so difficult that you will find it hard to wrap your head around them, it always pays dividends to engage a financial advisor. That being said, the financial advisor landscape can be a little tough to navigate on your own because there are many self-proclaimed financial gurus in the market.

Therefore, it is vital to be careful and thoughtful when you select a financial expert as he/she will offer considerable value in helping you achieve your aim of saving, growing and protecting your savings. Here is a list of things to keep in mind when you are looking for a financial advisor:

Experience and Education

Perform a critical review of your potential advisor’s experience and educational and academic background. This will help you in realizing why a specific advisor may be uniquely positioned to assist you in resolving your financial dilemmas. Particularly look for advisors who can establish their ability to apply knowledge to create a strategy suitable for your needs. An advisor’s website is a good starting point. It will allow you to learn about their planning practice, qualifications and thought process.

Certifications

Make sure you ask about the steps that an advisor takes to develop his/her knowledge of personal finance. One of the ways of gauging this is to go through their various certifications. To be specific, take your time to learn about the outright requirements for obtaining a given certification as well as the continuing requirements to maintain the designation.

Conflict of Interest and Fee

You can get a good understanding of an advisor’s potential conflict of interest and incentives by identifying how they are compensated. Advisors are usually paid in the form of client fees, commissions or a combination of both. There is a greater chance a conflict of interest may arise in case of commissions. Commissions usually compromise an advisor’s independence. So, be wary of this.

Long-Term Approach

Another important thing to consider when you go advisor hunting is whether your prospective advisor takes a long-term view or not. The Warren Buffett philosophy is desirable. What most people need is an advisor who will hold their hand when they ride out the financial storm and prevents them from unloading stock at bad times.

Skilled Listener

Experts claim that a good advisor will comprehend what his/her clients are saying, even at times when they are not speaking. Make sure your potential advisor is a good listener so he can understand your specific needs and preferences to render the best advice. Another key facet of listening is being generous and mentally present during client discussions.

Working Relationship

Before you make this key decision, get a good understanding of how often and with whom you will interact. Some advisors meet with their client initially and then follow up yearly, while others give continuing support the whole year round. Ensure that the one you select meets your needs.

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