Americans are lucky we have such diverse choices when it comes to our financial services. Though whenever you have a lot of choices there can be a downside: how to choose. Finding the best financial investment advice will be the first step you need to take to pick the investment choices that best suit you and your goals.
When looking for someone to provide you with sound financial advice it’s crucially important you don’t entrust your financial security to just anyone. While most advisors aren’t necessarily dishonest, that still doesn’t mean they are good at what they do or qualified to provide you with the quality advice you need.
When looking for the right advisor take some time to meet with a few. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t forget, these people will be working for you and you have the right to make sure they are qualified. If someone gives you an attitude, walk away. A professional should understand that you have a lot of choices in who you pick to be your advisor as well as a lot at stake. If they are qualified they should want to show you just how professional and qualified they are, they shouldn’t get an attitude and get offended.
Here are some things you will need to find out from any prospective planner:
1. Are they ‘tied’ or independent? A tied agent means they are tied to a particular company and can only sell the products of that one company. They are required by law to only sell you the products that you request but they aren’t required to tell you if another company has a product that is better suited to your needs.
Since they can only sell you their products it stands to reason that the advice they give will be pretty biased. That isn’t all bad, as long as you know that up front. Make sure to ask them if they are tied or independent, they should tell you but if they don’t, ask them.
Independent means they can sell the products and services of several companies. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are unbiased though. Since they most likely work for a commission they will probably push you towards the products that pay the highest commissions even if it’s not the best product for you.
Again, this doesn’t have to be a big problem as long as you know going in. If you are working with an independent advisor and you get to the point where they are making recommendations, ask them to give you more than one option. That way you will have a better idea of which is best for you and you won’t have to worry that they are only pushing one product over another so that they can make a bigger commission.
2. How does your advisor make their money? Most will earn commissions and/or fees. For that reason they may only contact you when they are trying to make a sale and not just to make sure your current investments are still the best choice for you.
3. Can an advisor help you with all of your financial needs? A complete financial plan will include everything from insurance coverage to estate planning and everything in between. A good advisor should be able to help you develop a comprehensive plan that will help you make the most out of your money while limiting tax consequences.
Use these tips to help choose the best person to give you financial investment advice.