How to choose a financial advisor

How to find a financial advisor that’s right for you

find a financial advisor

When it comes down to it, talking about your financial needs isn't always easy. So it’s important to choose an investment professional you feel comfortable with.

Make sure their knowledge and experience is a good match for your needs. Now and in the future.

Get recommendations

Start by getting recommendations from family, friends and coworkers. Ask them who they trust with their financial needs – and why.

Look to other sources for recommendations, including:

Interview the candidates

Plan to talk to several candidates to find the one who’s right for you. You’ll have lots of questions and so will they. You can expect an investment professional to ask questions regarding your:

Be sure to ask for references from others they work with, such as accountants, attorneys or insurance agents. Also ask for a contract that lists the services they’ll provide and what you'll pay for them.

Check their credentials

Certification doesn't guarantee competence, but professional licenses do take time and effort to achieve. Some of the most common professional designations include:

Call the professional associations your candidates mention and find out if their membership is in good standing and whether there are any complaints against them. Also check their backgrounds on the FINRA website

Ask how they’re compensated

Some investment professionals are paid a commission. They earn money when you buy a product or service from them.

Others charge a fee. They’re paid for the time they spend with you, not the products they sell. Some charge a flat fee for a certain service, such as $300 to create a retirement plan. Others are paid based on the amount of money they manage. For instance, an investment professional who manages $50,000 of your money may charge you 2% per year, or $1,000. That fee could be paid in either a lump sum or spread out over several payments.

Some investment professionals charge a fee plus commission. First they charge a fee to meet with you. Then they’re paid a commission if you buy the products they recommend.

Build a relationship

Once you've found a qualified professional that suits your needs, you can start taking steps to plan for your financial future.

Your investment professional will work with you to develop a clear picture of your current financial situation and help you work toward your financial goals. By building a relationship with them over time, you’ll also be able to request annual checkups so they’ll know when your needs change.

If you’re still looking for more suggestions on where to begin your search, you can start with Nationwide. Find an investment professional today.

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