Last year brought the need for a financial plan to the forefront of many people’s minds. Even stars like Anthony Anderson from ‘Black-ish’ are partnering up with major companies to spread the word on how important financial planning is. His goal - to encourage Americans to not only meet with a financial advisor or planner but to realize that financial planning is for everyone1.
No matter how young or old, everyone should meet (at some point) with a financial planner. But starting the process to find the right planner for a lot of people can be intimidating, especially if it is their first time approaching someone in the industry. However, it does not have to be. Here are three things you should look for when you start your search to find your lifelong guide to financial freedom.
The Right Credentials: You need to make sure that the planner you are going to be working with has the right credentials. With a lot of different titles that can be thrown around in our industry, many do not matter unless they have the specific credentials geared towards financial planning. The top two, in my opinion, are Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC).
Both require the participant to:
- Pass rigorous education courses followed by a lengthy final standardized test for the CFP® or final tests at the end of each course for the ChFC.
- Have a certain industry experience requirement
- Complete continuing education (CE) requirements
The main difference between the two above is the CFP® requires the planner to be held to the fiduciary standard, meaning they must always act in the best interest of their clients and is the highest standard in the industry.
Find Someone Trustworthy: The best way to have a successful client advisor relationship is through complete mutual trust. This person is going to be your financial guide leading up to and through retirement, making sure that you reach your financial goals along the way. If you cannot trust this person, then the financial freedom you should be receiving from working with a planner will inevitably diminish. Make sure that you take your time in choosing the right planner and make sure that they are completely transparent from the beginning.
Planning Focused: I know this may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many advisors say they provide financial planning and are strictly investment focused. Yes, investments are important. But they should be used as a tool to reach the goals of a plan. Any advisor you meet with should be asking the following:
- What is important to you and your family?
- What are your financial goals?
- What is your current lifestyle and how much will it change in retirement?
And be able to show you:
- How they provide value to their clients? (This should not have anything to do with investment performance)
- The tools/software they use for the financial planning process
No matter what stage you are at in life, everyone needs to have a financial plan. I hope you use the information above as a starting point to meet with a financial planner and know that you are finding your lifelong guide to financial freedom.
- Wade, Reggie. “'Black-Ish' Star Anthony Anderson Wants to Help Americans with Their Finances.” Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo!, 2021, finance.yahoo.com/news/blackish-star-anthony-anderson-wants-to-help-americans-with-personal-finance-135845235.html.
The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice and it should not be relied on as such. It should not be considered a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell a security. It does not take into account any investor's particular investment objectives, strategies, tax status or investment horizon. You should consult your attorney or tax advisor.
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