Here are some things you would want to know about your financial planner
1. Is the person qualified?
Anybody can say that he or she is an expert financial planner. No particular degree or experience is required. There is no department of government that oversees planners. Of the quarter of a million financial planners, only an approximate of 40,000 are CFP (Certified Financial Planner). The CFP is the most acknowledged designation for financial planning.
Even with this certification, there are no guarantees. It takes experience and continuous education plus a high degree of ethics and integrity to be a professional planner.
One excellent option is to check his CFP status as well as his PFS (Personal Financial Specialists) and ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultants) status.
2. Is he looking after your interest or his?
Professional financial planners take their duties on your retirement plans seriously. Your needs are ahead of his or hers. Unfortunately, most of the so called financial planners are just trying to sell you investments. They are not obligated to provide the best retirement plan but are only prevented from selling you an unsuited plan.
The best option is to ask the financial planner to furnish you a printout of code of ethics that he needs to comply. It is a difficult read, but knowing the standards which your planner abides is a must.
3. How is your planner getting paid?
Several financial advisers still get most of their income through commissions. Many gracefully slide through the ‘commission’ tag by giving themselves the title ‘fee-based’ financial planners. They also simply duck the compensation subject.
Commission is not really bad, but it does create a complexity of interest with the retirement planner. Your retirement planner should voluntarily tell you how he gets paid, or at least give a direct answer when asked.
4. A slice of the pie or the whole thing?
An excellent financial planner takes into account the whole financial situation of a client, including their plans for estate and budgets. That is the only true way of looking at a comprehensive retirement plan.
Most of these financial planners simply focus on a single projection of a client’s financial situation. In most cases, they focus only on the area in which they have received any training.
When your adviser focuses on a single or only a few aspects of your retirement plan, get one that will take into account your entire situation.
5. This is what I’m selling. This is what you must buy
Financial planners that do not have the necessary education in comprehensive retirement planning often rely on what their companies require them to invest in. For example, a stockbroker may possibly hard sell certain mutual funds or individual stocks. This is also true even when the best utilization of the money is on paying the mortgage or raising the emergency fund.
Your retirement planner must be able to discuss intelligently about methods other than his recommendations. If he is not able to, or simply insists that his way is the best way, look for another adviser.