How to select the right financial planner
Pension needs to be planned and tuition for the children. Insurance. Real estate planning. And oh, don't forget a wedding for your daughter. If all of this sounds familiar to you, it might be time to start looking for a financial planner.
Certain experts, such as stock brokers or tax advisers, are there to help you deal with specific aspects of your financial life. But if you don't have an overall plan, you may find yourself spinning your wheels to move forward. That's where financial planners come into play. Someone trained and astute will usually create a written plan that focuses on things like your retirement and insurance needs, the investments you need to make to achieve your goals, college funding strategies, plans to tackle debt - and up to Finally - ways to correct any mistakes you've made by haphazardly trying to plan yourself.
Before you start shopping for a planner, a word of caution: Unlike brain surgeons, barbers, and plumbers, a financial planner doesn't need to crack a book, take an exam, or otherwise demonstrate competence before hanging a clapboard. In other words, anyone can claim the title - and thousands of poorly educated people do. That means finding the right planner for you and your family takes more work than researching the best new flat screen TV. And so it should. After all, it's about your financial future.
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An easy way to start looking for a financial planner is to ask for recommendations. If you have a lawyer or accountant you trust, ask him for the names of planners whose work he has seen and admired. Such professionals are in the best position to assess a planner's capabilities.
But don't stop at the referral. You should also take a good look at login details. A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) must pass a series of rigorous exams and have certain experience in the financial services field. This alphabet soup is not a guarantee of excellence, but the initials do show that a planner takes his or her job seriously.