There is much to consider when selecting a financial advisor. The first step is to understand what you should know as a basis of understanding, which was covered in a recent article.
Next is having clarity as to what services you want from an advisor, the certifications of the advisor and the legal safeguards that you want and the form of recourse if an error is made.
Below is a list of the areas to consider when selecting a financial advisor. You may wish to review and complete the checklist as to the areas of service you want, which legal safeguard you desire, and the form of compensation, all to aide you in your process of finding the right advisor for you.
When you have addressed these topics, you will have a great way to screen the advisors that are competent and trustworthy.
What is the reason you seek an advisor at this time?
What are the areas where you know you need help? (check all that apply)
To find an advisor you could use “search for an advisor” feature on the above websites. This will not be as clear as you may like, since some of these sites do not inform you if the advisors are “fee-only” or not, or if they sell products, thus you do not know those that act as a fiduciary 100% of the time.
The best option to find an advisor that is the type that you want is to do a web search. Include the designation, the compensation type and your city. Thus, if you want to work with an advisor that is a CFP, is fee-only (does not sell products) and you live in Sacramento, you would enter “CFP” “fee only” “Sacramento”. The quotes are important to get what you want.
Some sources recommend that you ask your friends or family for the name of an advisor as a referral. This is not good counsel since this results in a high probability that you get referred to a hybrid advisor that is not a fiduciary 100% of the time and does not have a meaningful certification/designation.
Also, be wary of online sites that have a list of what appears to be the best advisors in your area. Many of these are just a list of those advisors that have paid to be on the list. Also, Angie’s List and Yelp are not good sources to find an advisor for a variety of reasons that you can read about.