How to choose a financial advisor

Your choice of a financial advisor should be the result of sound research. You must locate appropriate candidates, understand their credentials, check references, and conduct interviews in which you ask the right questions. It can be a daunting task. So daunting, in fact, that many otherwise savvy people have cut corners -- opting instead to rely on recommendations from family and friends, chance meetings, or advertisements. Sadly, this has left many people unsatisfied with their advisors and dubious of the value of financial services in general. However, trust that spending the time to hire the right financial advisor will make all the difference in turning a plan for your financial future into permanent wealth and comfort.

The first step in choosing a financial advisor is to identify your needs -- most importantly, a professional must be able to provide the specific information and unique advice that you require. You must find a professional that can perform the services you desire given your personal constraints such as location, net worth, portfolio size, etc.

Identifying professionals that meet these basic criteria can be very difficult. Individuals often rely on crude search methods such as personal recommendations or even the Yellow Pages. Neither of these methods are ideal: professionals recommended to you, though they were obviously well-suited to the recommender, are not likely to also be a perfect fit for your unique financial situation, and the Yellow Pages can be even less effective because their ability to provide detailed information about individual advisors is severely limited.

We have sought to ease the initial search challenge by providing WiserAdvisor; it is a sophisticated matching service that can help you to quickly and easily receive information about financial professionals ideally suited to serve you. It is free and there are no obligations -- it merely puts you in contact with a select group of people who can provide the help that you need. You can be confident that the matches WiserAdvisor determines for you are uniquely appropriate because our database of financial professionals has individuals that offer each type of service to any particular demographic in any location. And we have done our best to ensure high quality as every professional in our system has met strict qualification standards. In short, by using WiserAdvisor, you will quickly and efficiently narrow your field of choices to the few best options.

WiserAdvisor will send you an email with personal and professional information about each of the advisors matched to your needs -- you can view the advisor's picture, services, years of experience, educational background, professional qualifications, types of investments handled, mission statement, etc. You should use this information to help determine which advisors from the short list will best provide you with the professional help you desire.

At this point, it is important to further narrow your choices with a thorough interview process. More detailed information about how to conduct interviews will be available after you finish your search on WiserAdvisor, but, briefly, things to know about your financial professional include:

Investing strategy
Profiles of existing clients
Average account size
Sample financial plan
Risk tendencies
Fees and commissions
Favored investment vehicles
Existence of liability insurance
Availability of references
Any disciplinary actions

Naturally, you will be the one to determine which of these factors are most important to your ultimate decision. Above all, you should feel comfortable with the professional that you choose. You want someone that you have confidence in; after all, this is your money that we're talking about. No matter what his or her title is, your professional should seem like the right choice to you.

Good luck in making this important decision!

To introduce yourself to one of our advisor subscribers, please click here