Choosing Your Financial Adviser

managing your money

Well, that didn’t take long.

The ink was barely dry on the new Labor Department rules that require brokers to act in their customer’s best interests on retirement accounts when a group of business organizations filed a lawsuit seeking to set the rules aside.

It just highlights how important it is to choose the right financial adviser.  A good adviser can save you thousands of dollars by avoiding high or unnecessary fees, irresponsible risks and avoidable taxes.

How should you go about your search?  Well, there isn’t an app for that yet, but you can cobble together some great information from the internet.

Look at napfa.org (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors), letsmakeaplan.org (Certified Financial Planners) or plannersearch.org (Certified Financial Planner Association).  These list fee-only advisers.

Then do the following for each adviser who makes it to your short list:

  • Run the name on BrokerCheck.
  • Google the name to look for lawsuits and customer disputes. Do the same for the adviser’s firm.
  • E-mail a short questionnaire to the adviser and ask for a response. Suggested questions can be found at plannersearch.org.
  • Look up his or her website, and look for the Form ADV brochure. This is a mandatory disclosure form for most advisers.  You can also find it at adviserinfo.sec.gov.
  • Interview the adviser in person.
  • Get a written agreement that discloses all fees.

Don’t do the following:

  • Make a decision during the interview. You may succumb to a charismatic or high pressure sales-pitch.
  • Choose an adviser based solely on a friend’s recommendation.
  • Pay for your initial interview.
  • Start off the interview by disclosing how much money you have to invest.
  • Interview only one adviser.
  • Assume that a “fee only” adviser does not also receive commissions. Ask!

This won’t guarantee that you will have a successful search, but it should cut your risks considerably.  Good luck!

 

Hammerle Finley Law Firm.  Give Us a Call.  We Can Help.