Written by Intern Clay Melsheimer
August 7th, 2014
Many people who are in their late 50s and early 60s are approaching retirement and realize that they need help to achieve their financial goals with retirement in the near horizon. These people have accumulated cash over their careers, and essentially need help with investing decisions to meet their financial goals. However, many of these people do not know where to begin when searching for a financial planner. In this blog, I am going to describe the role of financial planners, tell you what to look for in a financial planner, and explain why fee-only advisors are an excellent choice for many people who are in this situation.
The role of a financial planner is to help people manage their money. By meeting with clients, advisors can help determine budgeting and retirement plans, investing strategies and other financial responsibilities. By doing this, financial planners get their clients on track to meet their financial goals.
When searching for a financial planner, you should look for an advisor who has at least a few years of experience as a financial planner, and you should make sure that he or she is certified by a professional organization. The most notable certification is under the Certified Financial Planning Board (CFP). To become a CFP, a financial planner must meet all the requirements, including extensive study and a comprehensive test on the financial planning process, income tax planning, investment planning, retirement planning and employee benefits and estate planning.
It is important to understand that not all financial advisors are created equal, and fee-only advisors have been especially sought after for their non-biased opinions. Fee-only advisors are registered investment advisors with the fiduciary responsibility to act in their clients’ best interest, which makes this appealing to many clients who are looking for comprehensive advice. While most commission-based advisors are looking out for the best interest of their clients, sometimes conflict of interest arises at the expense of the client. Therefore, it makes sense for clients to pursue the non-biased approach of fee-only advisors for their financial planning needs.
Aside from certifications and experience in the industry, it is vital that you have a good first impression when looking for a financial planner. Financial planners maintain long lasting relationships with their clients, and it is important that you select an advisor that you get along with. When searching for an advisor, find at least 2 or 3 financial planners and set up a meeting with them. This will allow you to feel comfortable with them, and will give you a better idea if their advice is worth pursuing.