Hopefully, you will trust your financial planner enough to follow his or her advice. After all, that’s what you pay for. However, it’s important to remember that the financial planner works for you, not the other way around. You pay his/her salary, and if a financial planner starts acting as if you work for him/her, it’s time to start finding a new financial planner. You can circumvent some problems by doing your homework when choosing your financial planner.
1. Look at his/her record. Are there any red flags? Does the person mind you checking into the record? Can you find out information from people who are not on the payroll?
2. Talk to people he/she has worked for. Talk to former or current clients, as well as former employers. Have a list of questions ready, so you will know what to ask and be able to get back on track if you wind up chasing rabbits in your talk with someone. Look for signs of dishonesty in the person, and ask yourself, “Does this person have anything to gain by putting the advisor in a good light (or a bad one)?”
3. Choose someone with the heart of a teacher who will walk you through the process instead of just telling you what to do. This is the most difficult part to determine, but by having conversations with the person before accepting them, you should be able to tell whether they make the information clear to you or not. Sometimes the problem is not that the person is a bad financial advisor, it’s that he/she doesn’t speak to your understanding. You always want someone who you understand, and who is willing to clarify when you have questions.
4. Check with the better business bureau and other professional organizations to make sure your selected planner doesn’t have any red flags.
5. Make sure you click’ with one another – no personality clashes. A financial advisor doesn’t have to be your friend, but if you clash with the person, you will have difficulty trusting and working together.
A financial planner is one of the most important employees in your life, so getting the right ‘fit’ is important. Then, once you’ve found someone you can work with, let them work. Don’t micromanage them. But, don’t be a fool and not keep tabs on your money. It is after all, your money, so take good care of it by choosing a good financial planner and using your head when it comes to your investments.