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How Do I Choose the Best Financial Planner?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 11 June 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Understanding the role of a financial planner is the first step in selecting the best one. Make sure you select a person who understands your needs and provides a personalized plan. Be careful when considering individuals whose salary is based solely on commissions. If an individual has a heavy sales pitch or poor customer service skills, you should continue your search.

Before you can choose the best financial planner, you must understand what a financial planner does. Many people confuse these individuals' roles with that of other financial professionals, which can result in disappointment. Planners are individuals who help people develop and execute plans to achieve their financial goals. Although there are some professionals who offer a variety of financial services, you should not discount a planner because he does not do accounting or prepare taxes because these tasks are not part of his job.

Check an individual's credentials before making your selection. Considering that this individual will be responsible for guiding you in making some very important decisions, you want to make sure that you are dealing with a certified professional. An individual with a CFP designation is a certified financial planner, meaning that she has studied and passed an examination. She is also subject to certain requirements, which tend to include ongoing education.

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The best financial planner for you will be one who listens and understands your needs. Realize that this is not the same as hearing what you say and offering you a pre-conceived plan. To help determine how you are being treated, write down your concerns before or during your consultation. Once the financial planner offers advice, ask him which of his suggestions are directed toward each point you have outlined. If you do not feel that your circumstances are being dealt with individually, you should explore further options.

Take the financial planner's payment structure into consideration. Fees can vary, and you want to ensure that you will not spend more money than necessary. Be aware of an individual whose earnings are based on commission. This does not necessarily indicate whether or not he is the best financial planner, but you must consider that for him to get paid for working for you, he will need to motivate you to make transactions.

Be careful if it appears that the sales pitch is too heavy. Of course you want a professional to outline what he can do for you, and it may be helpful for him to specify what he believes sets him apart from others. You do not, however, want to make your decision for the best financial planner based on arrogant or exaggerated claims.

Even if you believe that you have found the best financial planner, do not commit to her services during the initial consultation. Put her customer service to the test. Contact her later, ask a question, and take note of how you are treated. If she responds in a timely and adequate manner, she may indeed be a good choice.

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