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Choosing the best money manager can be an overwhelming task. With so many different money management firms in operation today, the sheer number of options can sometimes be more than a consumer is able to process. Fortunately, there are a few basic strategies that help to narrow the number of potential managers and make it possible to find the best money manager for your needs.
Your first task in evaluating money management firms is to determine exactly what you need in the way of support and services. Individuals will want to focus on firms that specialize in personal money management. Services within this area include budgeting, creating and growing savings, and in general arranging debts so that they can be kept current with the usual monthly cash flow. For individuals with an interest in creating an investment portfolio, it is important to look at money management firms that provide access to a stockbroker as well as a financial planner and manager.
After identifying money management firms that provide the services required, your next step is to investigate the general reputation of each firm. Making inquiries in the financial community can help you accomplish this. Your banker can often provide data relating to the financial stability of each firm on your list, as well as help you learn other details, such as how long the company has been in business. You may also be able to learn which of the firms have a reputation for being customer-centric, easy to work with, and in general place a high premium on helping clients reach their financial goals.
Once you have a list of a half dozen money management firms that can provide the services you need and have a good reputation in the financial community, it is time to make contact with each one. Your goal here is to determine which of the firms provide you with a sense of comfort and trust. In order for the business relationship to work, you must have full confidence that the firm of your choice understands your general financial philosophy and can tailor their services to fit your needs. If for any reason you feel a given firm does not seem to grasp what you need in the way of financial planning and management, move on to the next money manager on your list.
By process of elimination, you will be able to find at least a couple of money management firms that inspire confidence and have the resources and the good reputation you require. At that point, ask for samples of the reports they routinely supply their customers. Can you understand them? If the reports are hard to decipher, that could be a problem. Go with the firm that issues reports you can read easily, without having to wade through a lot of extra window dressing. This will save you a substantial amount of time and make you much happier in the long run.