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How to Pick a Financial Advisor

Before I write about picking a financial advisor, you might be asking yourself what exactly is a financial advisor? Well, a financial advisor is an umbrella term describing financial professionals (certified financial planners, registered investment advisors, personal financial specialists and certified public accountants) who get paid to guide you with financial planning, from budgeting to saving for retirement.

Although you may already know how to save and are financially responsible, hiring a financial advisor may help. Together you’ll lay out goals, benchmark actual versus expected results, and adjust quickly should something seem slightly off-track. This should increase the probability of your financial success and ultimately justifies the reason for working with an advisor. Plus, if you are like me and thrive on accountability, then having an advisor would help you follow a long-term plan rather than make short-term or “poor” choices.

You may be pleasantly surprised to find that there is a financial advisor for every budget and financial situation.

Does this leave you scratching your head, asking yourself, “why don’t I have a financial advisor already?” Don’t worry, there isn’t a magical age that one should have an advisor by. Many hire an advisor when a sudden change happens in their life, such as getting married or divorced, having a baby or receiving an inheritance, or a windfall of money comes to them (lottery or lawsuit). Others just prefer to have someone guide them.

Now that you’ve determined you’d like the services of a financial advisor, consider following the steps below to find an advisor that meets your financial needs.

  1. Consider what professional you want to work with and what
    services they offer
  2. Get recommendations from family and friends
    (multiple if possible)
  3. Consider how much you can afford to pay an advisor
  4. Check the advisor’s background
  5. Set up an introductory call or meeting before hiring them
  6. Ask how they are paid
  7. Ask if they are a fiduciary (this means that they are required by law to act in your best interests, rather than their own)

Think of this comparison: You know how to cut your own grass but hiring a lawn service helps to maintain your property without the stress of doing it yourself. Hiring an advisor is a similar: you may be able to go plan on your own, but having an advisor helps keep your finances in check without you having to watch your money daily.

Ultimately, choose a financial advisor that has your best interest in mind. That will leave you with peace of mind, all while your money is hard at work.

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Nikki Ducas
Nikki Ducas is a freelance writer and for the past 8+ years writes the money column for Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine. She has lived in Fredericksburg for 16 years with her husband and is a homeschooling mom to their two boys. Nikki enjoys hiking, knitting and her other side hustles of pet sitting and event management.

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