Even the most experienced of investors may struggle with building a solid investment portfolio that yields consistent returns. Those that don’t have the time or inclination to study the financial markets 8 hours a day may need advice and regular assistance in order to make sound decisions regarding their investments.
Relying on an advisor to help you build a portfolio provides retirement or other income in the future is a matter that should be taken seriously and with the greatest consideration. At our Cleveland Estate Planning Law Firm we have a few tips on how to find an advisor you can trust.
IT'S ALL ABOUT CREDENTIALS
It only takes a single faulty investment decision for you lose a significant portion of your life's savings. If you haven't taken the time to choose an advisor who has the right credentials, you could fall way short of your retirement dreams in terms of income.
According to a survey conducted by Franklin Templeton Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations, a third of adults are concerned about running out of money during their retirement. It is a leading priority to make sure there is enough money in the proverbial nest egg. Your investments have enough risk in them, you shouldn't add to it with an un-verified investment planner.
Find out the experience and credentials your potential financial planner has. While the government does not regulate financial investors, you can do your own background check. Qualified planners often identify themselves with professional organizations or complete regular education in investment planning.
One such designation is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Those who have this title have completed at least 3 years of course work within a field of financial study and passed the requisite 2-day exam. Another qualifying title would be a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC).
HONESTY IS ESSENTIAL
It goes without saying that without honesty, you could very well be looking at a Bernie Madoff or similar Ponzi scheme where you money is quickly and efficiently swindled away. Delve deep in your research and investigate your advisor's background along with the company they work for.
The firm or individual that you hire should be open about the fees they charge, have a number of qualified experts for you to rely on, and they should be willing and able to give you the means to a solid financial education so that you are more informed about your investments. Steer away from those who don't give you clear answers about their past financial dealings.
BEFORE YOU CHOOSE AN ADVISOR – MAKE A LIST
Compile a list of the top five investment firms or advisors you think make the cut. When you have a list of professionals that have the experience and necessary qualifications you are looking for, start reading the reviews. Hear what you neighbor has to say about his advisor, read the online reviews of others about an investment firm you wish to sign on with.
It's important to note that you decision should not be based completely on the reviews you hear, but that you rather use them as a guideline. If you find a slew of negative reviews regarding a particular service your potential financial advisor offers, mark it as a red flag. Based on your research and the reviews of other will help you determine which advisor is the best fit for your needs.
From your list, cross-off advisors that have minimal experience or concerning backgrounds. Compare the ones you have left. Does one offer better services than the other? Lower rates? More access to other service such as retirement or estate planning? Ask pointed questions before settling on an advisor. Interview each financial planner carefully, making sure to take notes on the responses given.
You need to be able to completely trust the financial advice you are given. If you choose the right advisor, he or she could become a colleague for life. Be willing to get involved and stay informed about your financial plan, and above all ask questions. The more you know the better you are able to protect your investments.
HOW WE HELP
At the Cleveland estate planning and probate law firm of Bart Leonardi we help families with the legal side of managing, protecting and transferring their assets. Throughout life, your assets, family and personal aspirations will likely grow and change. It is important to have a solid long-term relationship with an estate planning attorney, who can help you create and maintain your will and estate plan. To arrange a free consultation with Estate Planning Attorney Bart Leonardi click here.
James Bart Leonardi, LLC is not an investment advisor of any kind, so do not consider anything on this page to be legal, tax, or investment advice.