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7 Secrets Professionals Use to Choose Financial Advisors

·2 min read

Choosing a financial advisor is a major life decision that can determine your financial trajectory for years to come. Making the right decision doesn't have to be hard. Try these seven secrets from smart professionals to help ensure you're selecting the right financial advisor to meet your particular set of needs.

1. Always Hire an Advisor Who Is a Fiduciary

By definition, a fiduciary is an individual who is ethically bound to act in another person’s best interest. Fiduciary financial advisors must avoid conflicts of interest and disclose any potential conflicts of interest to clients.

All of the financial advisors on SmartAsset’s matching platform are registered fiduciaries. If your advisor is not a fiduciary and constantly pushes investment products on you, use this no-cost tool to find an advisor who has your best interest in mind.

2. Don't Hire the First Advisor You Meet

While it’s tempting to hire the advisor closest to home or the first advisor in the yellow pages, this decision requires more time. Take the time to interview at least a few advisors before picking the best match for you.

3. Don't Choose an Advisor with the Wrong Specialty

Some financial advisors specialize in retirement planning, while others are best for business owners or those with a high net worth. Some might be best for young professionals starting a family. Be sure to understand an advisor’s strengths and weaknesses - before signing the dotted line.

4. Don't Pick an Advisor With an Incompatible Strategy

Each advisor has a unique strategy. Some advisors may suggest aggressive investments, while others are more conservative. If you prefer to go all in on stocks, an advisor that prefers bonds and index funds is not a great match for your style.

5. Always Ask About Credentials

To give investment advice, financial advisors are required to pass a test. Ask your advisor about their licenses, tests, and credentials. Financial advisors tests include the Series 7, and Series 66 or Series 65. Some advisors go a step further and become a Certified Financial Planner, or CFP.

6. Understand How They are Paid

Some advisors are "fee only" and charge you a flat rate no matter what. Others charge a percentage of your assets under management. Some advisors are paid commissions by mutual funds, a serious conflict of interest. If the advisor earns more by ignoring your best interests, do not hire them.

7. Hire a Vetted Advisor

Chances are, there are several highly qualified financial advisors that serve your town. However, it can seem daunting to choose one.

Our no-cost tool helps make it easy to find qualified financial advisors who serve your area. Now you can get matched with up to three fiduciary investment advisors that are vetted and subject to our due diligence criteria. The entire matching process takes just a few minutes.

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