Choosing and Using a Financial Planner


WHY DO I NEED A FINANCIAL PLANNER?

No one is going to plan a secure financial future for you – not the government, not your employer, not your parents. The ultimate responsibility for planning your financial future is with you! So … with something as important as your financial present and future, it makes sense to seek the help of a professional. The right financial advisor can be invaluable to you in dealing with such a complex and emotional subject as your finances.


HOW DO I CHOOSE A FINANCIAL PLANNER?

There are several ways to go about choosing a financial planner:

  • Talk to family or friends who may have a good relationship with a planner.
  • Talk to your lawyer or accountant who may know of someone.
  • Many professionals offer seminars in the community.
  • Obtain a recommendation from your local bank or financial planning firm.
  • The telephone directory and Internet would also be sources.

  • Once you've gathered names, you will want to interview financial planners.
    Following a few steps will help you in this part of the process:


  • Prepare a checklist of your own financial needs and goals.
  • Make calls and ask for a resume and information about their firm.
  • Hold a personal interview


  • After your interview, consider the following:
  • Did the financial advisor listen carefully to your goals?
  • Did he or she make a sincere attempt to understand you?
  • Were you treated with respect?
  • Did the financial advisor have expertise in the areas critical to your financial needs?
  • Once you have checked references and compiled information you will be ready to make a choice of the financial planner who will give you the full time and objective attention that you deserve.


    NOW I HAVE MY PLANNER, WHAT SHOULD THEY BE DOING FOR ME?

    A financial planner, working hard for you, should do the following:
  • Take the time to understand you and your goals. They should conduct at least one comprehensive interview and preferable more, with you and your spouse. In order to best serve you, they need to thoroughly understand your needs and goals.
  • Ask you for continually updated information about your income and expenses, assets and liabilities, risk tolerance, insurance coverage, wills and trusts, taxes, family obligations, and overall financial objectives.
  • Work to help you understand the changing economic and market conditions and also to deliver timely information to you.
  • Meet periodically with you to be sure that all information is up to date.


  • FINALLY – MAINTAIN A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PLANNER

    A successful relationship requires attention and clear communication. Remember that your financial planner may be the expert, but you are the boss, so don't hesitate to call with questions or concerns – it's your money!