Updated: May 26
Visit the State Attorney General website as well, see how many complaints and lawsuits have been filed against your person of interest.
1. Ensure that you’re shopping in the correct aisle. A particular tax expert might specialize in working with farmers. If you’re not a farmer, that’s probably not the best option for you. A financial planner that specializes in working with teachers might not be the best choice if you’re a high net worth individual with complicated finances.
· Be aware that no financial expert is the best choice for every type of client. Find someone that’s an expert at addressing your needs.
2. Check credentials. For example, certified financial planners and chartered financial consultants have different certifications. Accountants may or may not have a CPA. Find out what credentials your prospective expert has and verify them. Ensure that you understand what each of the credentials means.
3. Check on the price. How are you charged? A percentage? By the hour? By the job? Determine how the company generates its income. Is this acceptable to you? How does that compare to the competition? Is this person worth the cost?
4. Determine if you’d be working with that specific person or anyone that’s part of their team. This may or may not matter to you, but it can be nice to develop a relationship with someone that understands your needs and your finances more intimately.
5. Tailor questions to the specific field. For a financial planner, ask to see a sample of a financial plan. You might get a one-page summary or 20 pages of charts and graphs. Which appeals to you more? What is their investing philosophy? How often will he communicate with you? By what means?
6. Follow your gut. Ask yourself if you could work effectively with this person. Do you trust them? Do you feel confident about working with them, or would you be lying in bed at night worrying?
· Follow your intuition once you’ve narrowed down the field to a few suitable candidates.
7. Review your choice each year. Keep your eye on the new addition to your financial team. At least once a year, evaluate your decision to hire them. Are you pleased with your choice? Would you like to find someone else instead? You have the right to change your mind and go in a different direction.
Spend the necessary time to find the right financial professional for you. Determine your needs and then find the best person to fulfill them. Ask your friends and family for referrals and then begin the research process. It’s worth the effort required to find the best fit.