How to Find the Right Investment Advisor for You
So you’ve decided you want to hire an investment advisor, but you still don’t know which particular type is suitable for you. Now all that’s left is the challenging part – looking for an advisor who is both knowledgeable and sincere in keeping your best interests at heart. Then again, there are several types of financial advisors. How do you determine which one is the most suitable for you? Start by estimating the kind and volume of services you will need.
If your needs are very basic, you may benefit from working with a brokerage firm, which is usually paid with reasonable commissions. But take note that brokers are only required to practice what is known as a suitability standard of care, meaning they can only sell or suggest investment types that are right for the client and their financial goals. This does not include being legally required to recommend the best or most cost-effective investment types. This is just one of the many reasons it’s important to research the background of a financial advisor before deciding to hire them.
Certified Financial Planners (CFP)
Certified Financial Planners (CFP) are finance professionals who have satisfied all of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards’ requirements, including a minimum of experience and passing a board exam. On top of that, CFPs must pass continuing education requirements in order to keep their status. CFPs are knowledgeable in various areas of financial planning, such as retirement, taxes, insurance, and the like.
Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)
If you’re looking for investment advice and continuous financial planning, a Registered Investment Adviser may be right for you. Such professionals are paid solely by the client, who is you, and they will only propose investments (for example, low-cost index funds, ETFs, etc.) that are perfectly aligned with your needs.
They are also required to follow a fiduciary standard of care, which is more complex than the suitability standard of a broker. Thus, an RIA is legally required to prioritize the client’s interest above their own. You will pay continuing fees to the RIA, but if you choose a good one, you can reduce your expenses with low-cost mutual funds, which are known to be the best-performing funds.
Insurance Agents and Bankers
While insurance agents and bankers are not technically investment advisors nor financial planners, the industry allows them to sell stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and certain other investment products. Furthermore, they may provide financial planning consultancy services.
Finally, whichever advisor or planner you hire, it is smart to choose one who is certified. You should also ask friends or co-workers for referrals or at least read client reviews online before making your final decision.