Tips on Choosing a Financial Planner
From Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.
- Know what you want: Determine your general financial
goals and/or specific needs (insurance policy analysis,
estate planning, investment advice, college tuition financing,
etc.) to better focus your search for a suitable financial
- Be prepared: Read personal finance publications to maximize your familiarity
with financial planning strategies and terminology.
- Talk to others: Get referrals from advisors you trust, from business
associates and friends. Or contact one of the financial
planning membership organizations for a referral to a financial
planner in your area.
- Look for competence: A number of specialty designations exist in the
financial planning and services arenas. Choose a financial
planning professional with the certification that indicates
that he or she is ethical and has met standards of financial
planning competency, the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification.
- Interview more than one planner: Ask the planners to describe their
educational backgrounds, experience and specialties, the
size and duration of their practice, how often they communicate
with clients and whether an assistant handles client matters.
Make sure you feel comfortable discussing your finances
with the planner you select.
- Check the planner's background: Depending on the financial planner's
area of expertise, call the securities or insurance departments
in your state regarding each planner's complaint record.
Call CFP Board toll-free at 888-CFP-MARK to determine if
a planner is currently authorized to use the CFP® certification
marks or has ever been publicly disciplined by CFP Board.
- Know what to expect: Ask for a registration or disclosure statement
(such as a Form ADV) detailing the planner's compensation
methods, conflicts of interest, business affiliations and
- Get it in writing: Request a written advisory contract or engagement
letter to document the nature and scope of services the
planner will provide. You should also understand whether
compensation will be fee or commission-based, or a combination
- Re-assess the relationship regularly: Financial planning relationships
are quite often long term. Review your professional relationship
on a regular basis and ensure that your financial planner
understands your goals and needs as they develop and change
over time. If you have concerns regarding the conduct of
your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER certificant, call CFP Board
toll-free at 888-CFP-MARK and ask for a Complaint Package.
Read More Articles about Financial Planning:
Think Like a Financial
There are some widely-held myths about financial planning that are important
to dispel before tackling your financial future.
Millions of Americans made a decision and promised themselves that this year
was the year. But like 80 percent of the population, they broke some or all
of their New Year's Resolutions. Although most people may think it's too
late to get their fiscal life in order for 2004, it's not! There is still
time to make 2004 financial resolutions a reality and start practicing good
financial health for 2005!
If you would like information on CFP Board of Standards, this article or how
to find a Certified Financial Planner (TM) in your area, please visit
www.cfp.net or call 1-888-CFP-MARK.