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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Choosing a Financial Advisor

Once you decide to work with an advisor, how do you determine the right one?

Things to ask include the advisor’s background and education, areas of expertise, their planning approach and how they are compensated. You will want to learn about any conflicts of interest and any regulatory issues on their record. How do they do business and where is their focus? Do they adhere to a professional code of ethics?

Still, codes of ethics and clean regulatory histories only go so far. Ask yourself how you feel about this person. Do you feel you can trust them. Do they hold to the same broad world view as you do? Are you compatible?

As you consider working with an advisor, ask yourself these questions:
• Do you feel comfortable sharing your dreams, your concerns, your financial details?
• Does your advisor really listen to you?
• Is your advisor supportive or does he or she intimidate you?
• Do you get the sense of transparency from the advisor (meaning, do you believe him or her to be open and truthful)?
• Do you communicate well?
• Does the advisor respect you ?
• Do you get the sense that what matters most to your advisor is what matters most to you?

After checking professional credentials, trust your gut. See how you feel about working with this person. Don’t be afraid to interview several advisors. Doing so might lead you to an advisory relationship that will make a real, long-term, positive difference in your life.

Blog posting provided by:

Michael Snowdon, CFP ®

Michael is president of WealthRidge, a wealth management and financial planning firm, and is a professor emeritus of the College of Financial Planning. His focus in financial planning is to coach people in the process of meeting their goals and achieving their dreams.