At some point in almost every adult’s life, there comes a moment when it’s time to take a seat at the grownup table and get serious about money and seek professional help. Whether it was a milestone birthday that made you feel old, a sudden inheritance, or financial crisis that left you feeling less than secure about your future, hiring a financial professional can be more than just a little intimidating.
But before you ever start your search for the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the financial guidance rainbow, it’s important to know what your goals are. Give yourself a timeout and do a little self-reflection with some basic questions first:
Why are you seeking a financial professional? Do you need help plotting your financial future because you may have so many competing goals such as buying a house, building up savings, paying off debts, creating a college fund, or taking a vacation? Or do you just hate dealing with money and want someone to do it for you? Or maybe you just want an impartial third-party to help with the tough decisions and keep the ship headed in the right direction? If you can’t answer these questions, the next ones from your financial professional will only get harder.
Do your homework
It’s also important to do your homework on what kind of a financial professional you may need. Stockbrokers, accountants, bankers, investment advisors, and even attorneys can be considered “financial advisors” because there’s no regulatory guidance or rules on using the title. However, a “financial planner” tends to analyze every aspect of your financial life.1 Planners tend to have more education, experience, and the ability to perform some services that other types of financial professionals maybe can’t. So it’s important to at least have an idea of the types of services you may need when selecting a financial professional for the first time.
To help separate the financial advisors from the planners, try using our list of seven important questions to ask a financial professional on our Knowledge Place. These can help you identify the right type of professional to be your guide on your financial journey.
A good financial professional can help you reach your financial goals even sooner than planned. But make sure you know the who, what, where, when, and how your money is being invested. Don’t be afraid to ask too many questions. After all, it’s your hard-earned money.
Tell us if you’ve hired a financial professional and, if so, what questions did you ask him or her?
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