How to Find The Best Financial Advisor in 7 Easy Steps
Think of hiring a financial advisor like hiring a Chief Financial Officer for your family. You want to use a disciplined process to find someone you can work with for many, many years. Finding the right person or firm may take a little more time than simply opening the yellow pages, but the investment of time will be well worth it in terms of your peace of mind knowing you made the right hire. Here are seven steps you can use to find the best financial advisor for you.
1. Understand the Distinctions in Service Offerings
Some financial advisors offer financial planning services but not investment management; others manage investments, but provide little financial planning. Some have expertise in retirement income planning which is focused on the distribution phase (for those near or in retirement) while others focus on the accumulation
phase (for younger folks who are ten years or more away from retirement).
To find the best financial advisor for your situation you need to understand the differences in the types of services that may be offered, know what type of financial advice you need, and know which services a potential advisor provides. Here's a brief summary of three main types of service offerings:
- Financial planning focuses on all aspects of your financial life such as how much to save, and what type of insurance you need - it is not just about the investments.
- Investment advisory services are focused on the investment management functions such as what investments to own in which accounts. I believe the best investments are chosen only as part of an ongoing financial planning process.
- Retirement income planning is focused on how you coordinate all the pieces such as Social Security, taxes, investments, pensions, retirement date, and so on, so they all align toward the goal of delivering a retirement paycheck for life.