Michael on February 3rd, 2009
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Today is a rare guest post from Trisha Wagner, a freelance writer for DestroyDebt.com. If you’d like to write a guest post (I am leaving the ice and snow for a week in about a month, let me know!)

If you are looking for guidance managing your finances you must take into consideration that hiring a financial advisor is not just hiring someone to manage your money.  The individual that you bring on to help with financial decisions will end up having a huge influence on your life and the future of yourself and your children.  Before hiring anyone to assist you in controling your financial future take the time to interview and follow through on reference checks.  You wouldn’t hire a caretaker for your child without checking references or hire someone to work for you without confirming their past performance on the job, yet many individuals fail to check out the references of potential financial advisers.  Like any other industry there are good and bad representatives and financial advisors are no exception.  Another factor to consider is for what exactly you need a financial advisor?  In order to find the right person or firm to handle your accounts you need to first know what problem solving skills and experience are needed for your specific goals and problems.

Who is qualified to offer financial advice?
There is an abundance of job titles that indicate financial planning is a booming business.  You may choose to work with any of the following but keep in mind a title alone does not indicate qualification; remember to check references to be sure the individual you work with has the knowledge and experience to provide the help you need.
•    Certified Financial Planner
•    Wealth Management Firms
•    Independent Broker-Dealers
•    Retirement Planners
•    Investment Planners

Know what kind of financial advice you need.
If you are in your 20’s and looking to build a diverse portfolio that will serve you for the next few decades your needs will be different than a married couple in their 60’s facing retirement.  Perhaps you are looking to donate money or make arrangements for estate planning?  For each individual the circumstances and goals are different so they must be taken into consideration before seeking out a professional to help you reach your goals.
Questions to ask your financial advisor.
When searching for the right advisor to help make financial decisions communication is key.  Your advisor will likely ask you to submit a profile and answer questions prior to your first visit so they can get an overview of you situation.  Your advisor should not be the only person asking for information, here are a few important questions you will want answers to.
•    Go over your situation and ask the advisor for ideas on how it can be fixed and if they have ever handled the same situation in the past?
•    How long will it take to develop a strategy and put it in place?
•    How will we communicate throughout the advisor/client relationship?  Can you send an email or leave a message whenever you have a question or does your advisor prefer having a sit down appointment to go over all questions?
•    What is your advisors investment philosophy? Are you comfortable with this thinking?
•    How will your advisor keep you updated on the your progress?

It is important that you take the time to research your personal needs, situation, goals and potential advisor before handing over control of your finances.  The purpose of an advisor is to make you feel more at ease about your financial decisions not to increase your worry-take the time in the beginning to find the right person that will work with your best interest in mind.

Trisha Wagner is a freelance writer for DestroyDebt.com, a debt community featuring debt forums. Trisha writes regularly on the topics of getting out of debt and personal finance.

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One Comment to “How To Get The Best Financial Advice”

  1. Good suggestions. Be sure, as you said, that the advisor has experience with your situation. There are advisors that specialize in a lot of different areas and you want someone who is a good fit. Also, be sure to do a background check. It’s not foolproof, but helps. An article providing resources for checking various advisors is: http://www.claroconnect.com/Fi....._check.htm

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