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Best Way to Interview a Financial Planner

By: Jason Markum

If you’ve had some success in your life it may be time to sit down with a financial planner. The problem is, it’s not always so easy to find a good financial planner. You should never pick the first person you meet. You should interview several until you find one that fits your situation and one whom you feel comfortable with.

Which leads to the question, how should you interview a planner? Well you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I will explain exactly what you should ask your potential new planner before you hire them.

First ask about their experience. They should have at least three years track record as a planner, that’s the very minimum. Any sort of related financial background they may have is a plus. I’m talking about accounting, banking, brokerage, or insurance here.

What credentials do they have? Are they a certified financial planner? Are they a Chartered Financial Consultant? These two designations are important for any planner to have. They indicate extensive education and multiyear testing. You may also ask if they have been admitted to the registry of practicing financial planning practitioners.

Next ask about their support services. Do they have up to date computer services and a professional staff working with them. There may have been a time when a sole practitioner working on their own was a benefit, but that is not the case today in our interconnected global economy. Today many planners work together so as to offer more services to their clients, and broader services to their clients.

Next, ask about their clients! People often feel nervous about this, but don’t. You have a right to know how their clients see them. How many clients do they have? What type of client do they have? A planner that has more than 150 clients may be spread too thin to adequately handle your affairs. On the other hand, too few clients suggests something else entirely. Ask how many clients renew their services each year. If more than 25% renew each year, run for the door.

Ask about ongoing services. Will the planner review your circumstances every year and make changes if necessary? Are there scheduled sitdown meetings every six months or every quarter, or once a year? What exactly is the protocol, that is to say, how does your financial planner keep in contact with you? What can you expect as far as ongoing care?

Finally discuss fees. F. Planners are expensive, and you need to know exactly what charges are in store for you. Don’t expect a personalized plan for less than $2,000. If your situation is more complex, you can expect fees to go up many times this amount depending on your exact situation and the complexity of your financial affairs. Be sure to ask about all these fees before hand.

These are the main questions to ask when interviewing a planner. Above all, make sure you feel comfortable with your financial planner. You need to be able to trust their expertise, after all, this is your financial health were talking about…

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