How Do I Find a Qualified Financial Planner or Investment Advisor?

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Ideally, you would be referred to someone that a trusted advisor recommends. A trusted advisor could be a member of your family, your CPA or attorney, or a friend or colleague. Next, you might want to locate those advisors in your area that have achieved a higher level of education in planning or investments. These certifications are granted by various organizations and you can search for advisors in your area on their websites. Some of the more recognized certifications are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). If the advisor in question also has a securities license, you can search the SEC’s website to find out how to check the record of the advisor and their company.

Once you’ve narrowed your list, it’s best to schedule an introductory appointment to interview each of them. Come with the questions you want answered, and try to determine the advisor and firm’s personality and experience, and whether or not they’re a good fit for you and your circumstances.

A good practice when engaging the services of any of your professional advisors is to ask for two or three references of clients that are similar to you, and that would be willing to discuss their relationship with the advisor. However, be aware the professional ethics imposed on certain advisors, such as an attorney, may prevent the disclosure of references due to the client privilege.