How to Find a Financial Advisor


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Tips for hiring an advisor who can help you achieve your long-term financial goals.

If you’re like a lot of people, when it comes to finances you do pretty well earning and saving money but you’re not sure how to manage your money for the long-term. One way to maximize the value of your investments is to work with a financial advisor. Here are some tips for selecting an advisor that’s right for you.

Starting your search for a financial advisor

There are plenty of financial advisors providing services—nearly 10,000 in Michigan alone! Consider asking friends, family and colleagues if they could recommend anyone. Other folks who may have recommendations are members of professional associations, your accountant, attorney or the institution that holds your retirement funds.

Look for an advisor with one or more designations that show a commitment to the profession.

Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Charted Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Fund Specialist (CFS) are just three of the many designations that qualified advisors can hold.

Once you have the names of three to five advisors, you can set up interviews to see if their service and style are a good match for you. Also, research the advisors who use tools such as FINRA’s BrokerCheck.

Choose an advisor who is your fiduciary

Some, but not all, financial advisors have fiduciary duty that requires them to act in their client’s best interest. It would be wise to choose someone who is a licensed, registered fiduciary.

What to ask potential financial advisors

When you interview potential advisors, you want to learn about the services they offer, their qualifications, how they get paid, how much you can expect to pay them each year and if they will act as your fiduciary.

After you have a baseline on the how the services work, find out what kind of people the advisor typically works with. There can be great value in working with someone whose clientele is in line with your needs and goals.

If anything is unclear, ask the advisor to repeat the information so you can understand it. An exchange like this will also shed light on what it will be like to work with the advisor later. If the advisor brushes off your requests or makes you feel like you’re asking stupid questions, it’s probably best to eliminate them from consideration and move on to the next candidate.

If you like the advisor, ask for a list of references who are current clients. Then follow up by contacting the references to see how well their money was managed by the advisor and whether they would recommend them to others.

Understand the advisor’s fee structure

Financial advisors can get paid in several ways. Some are commission-based, some charge a fee calculated as a percentage of the assets managed and others provide services on an hourly basis.

Many people shy away from commission-based services because the advisor may push products for which they receive higher commissions, rather than those that make the most sense for the client.

Make sure you understand how the advisor is compensated and how that will affect your investments.

Do you have business banking questions? Contact our knowledgeable commercial loan officers online or call 800-991-2221. We’re also available to help in person at your local Consumers office.

Consumers business services

Do you have business banking questions? Contact our knowledgeable commercial loan officers.

Learn more.

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