Determine the type of help you need as you plan your financial future.
Do I Need a Financial Planner to Help Me Plan for My Retirement?
- Many people learn about financial planning by reading financial material in newspapers, magazines, and books, and by requesting information from local investment firms.
- However, if you are uncomfortable in this area, you may want to seek the help of a professional.
- There are two types of financial planners:
--- Fee-Only Financial Planners charge a flat fee or an hourly fee for financial advice. They do not receive commissions from mutual funds or other financial products that they recommend. To find a fee-only advisor, you can call the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors at 1-888-333-6659.
--- Commission-Based Financial Planners earn commissions on the investments they sell. They may have a bias for investments that will pay them commissions. Some commission-based planners also charge a fee.
Look for a certified financial planner (CFP). You can call the Institute of Certified Financial Planners at 1-888-806-7526.
- Always Ask How the Planner is Paid.
One survey found that some planners that called themselves “fee-only” were receiving commissions on investments they sold.
- The financial-planning profession is not regulated, so it's hard to judge a planner's qualifications. Try to find a licensed broker or a certified financial planner.
Tips for Finding a Financial Planner
- Read the financial section of the newspaper, look over the ads and call three local investment firms and ask them to send you materials. After reviewing the materials, set-up interviews with financial planners at a few investment firms.
- Interview two or three different financial advisers. Make a list of questions about whatever you are interested in or do not understand in preparation for your meetings. Ask as many questions as you need.
- Beware of someone who promises too much. Find an advisor who will help you develop realistic measurements of success, and who will explain what he or she is recommending and why.
- Look for a financial planner who talks with you about risks, and what you are or are not comfortable with. You want to find someone who listens to you and understands you.
- Ask the advisor how the services he or she provides are paid for and how fees are calculated.
- Find an advisor who will design a realistic and well-diversified investment program for you.
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Last Reviewed: Sunday, October 30, 2011