Wealth means different things to different people. What may be one person’s threshold of financial security could look very different to someone else, particularly when viewed through the lenses of family responsibilities and overall life goals. Wealth can be a byproduct of hard work, the result of smart management, or both, and it’s important to have a plan for managing that wealth in the long term.
But managing wealth can be a daunting task if you try to go it alone. How do you make wise choices today that will last a lifetime and make sure your financial decisions are the right ones for your goals? For many, the answer is to enlist the services of a financial planner.
Choosing a financial planner should be a process as carefully considered as any big step in your life. Much like choosing a spouse or determining where you should live, selecting the right financial planner can have a profound effect on your long-term happiness and success to live your best life. The right financial planner will be a partner to you in your financial decisions.
Choosing the right planner for your needs
Many people begin their search for a financial planner by asking trusted friends and relatives for recommendations. This is a fine place to start, as long as you take the process several steps further. Choosing a financial planner solely on the recommendations of your best friend or your favorite uncle could result in selecting a planner that’s not quite the best fit for your current situation and future needs. Asking for recommendations is just the beginning, and you must take the process further on your own.
- Develop a list of planners to interview – this list can include those recommended to you as well as those chosen from other sources
- Check out their websites – this will give you a feel for their business philosophy
- Interview potential planners – pay attention to the types of questions they ask, and note whether their personality reflects the business philosophy you found on their website
- Find out how they’re compensated – planners who are members of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) operate on a fee-only basis, which minimizes conflicts of interest because a NAPFA planner is only compensated for the work done on your behalf
- Ask for references – even if you feel comfortable with a particular planner or firm, checking references will help you to make a final decision
What qualities does a financial planner need?
Financial planning isn’t a money business – it’s a relationship business. You’re entrusting a planner with the fruits of your life’s work, and you’ll want for this to be a true partnership. For a financial planner to be a partner with you in achieving your goals, he or she will need to proactively offer you strategies and solutions, and responsive to your concerns and ideas.
While you may find a planner you feel comfortable working with based on personal compatibility, don’t overlook credentials when making a final choice. What might appear to be alphabet soup after a planner’s name is actually an indication of the expertise that planner can offer to you. You may note designations such as CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ (CFP®), Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®), Certified Business Exit Consultant (CBEC™), or a combination of certifications behind a planner’s name, and these designations are earned, not given. What’s more, a planner must maintain a certain level of knowledge and continuing education in order to retain these certifications.
How to know if you’ve made the right choice
The planner and firm that you choose should be complementary to your own outlook and long-term goals for wealth management, and you should feel comfortable bringing any ideas or concerns to them during the course of your relationship. Wealth management and financial planning are industries bound by strict regulations and high standards, and a reputable firm will uphold those standards in a way that benefits every client they work with. If you’ve done your homework and given careful thought and consideration to your choice, you will be rewarded with an ongoing planning relationship that adapts as your life changes. Creating and managing wealth takes not only hard work, it takes dedication, and if you are able to unequivocally trust your financial planner to guide you in wealth management, then you have made the right choice.
Published: January 16, 2015
Authored By: Ann Pendley
Direct Phone: (812) 602-6304
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