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How to Find the Right Financial Advisor

While you certainly have the option of trying to manage your finances and set yourself up for a stable future on your own, it never hurts to work with a professional who can provide you with expert advice. Hiring a financial advisor may be the most responsible way to manage your money, but how do you go about finding the right one? What is a financial advisor? How is a financial advisor different from a broker dealer? Why does this difference matter? The last thing you want is to hire a financial advisor who can’t provide you with the knowledgeable advice that you desire, or even worse, sell you some cookie-cutter mutual funds that benefit him more than you. That’s why, in today’s post, we will provide you with a few tips you should keep in mind if you’re interested in finding a financial advisor who is right for you.

At Brokerage Specialists in Grand Island, we strive to make every client feel like a priority. In fact, as a fiduciary advisor, we are legally obligated to make you the priority and put your best interest above our own. We know how intimidating and scary the future can seem, especially where money is concerned. Our goal is to provide you with expert advice that can help take some of the stress and worry off of your plate and help you feel confident in your financial future. If you are interested in learning more about our financial planning services, give us a call to schedule an appointment today!

Know Where to Look

When you begin your search for a financial advisor, you will first need to have an idea of what exactly you are looking for as far as services. Do you want a financial advisor who simply manages your investments? Are you looking for advice? Do you want help with retirement planning? Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, it can be easier to narrow down your search.

While your first thought may be to go to an online search engine and look for a financial advisor near you, this can lead you to some not-so-reliable sources. Instead, consider using an online database of financial advisors, such as the one offered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) at BrokerCheck.FINRA.org. FINRA is an industry-based regulator that licenses both broker-dealers and financial advisors. You can search on their site for local firms using your zip code. We recommend that you filter these results to only display Investment Advisors in your area. A firm that is investment-advisor licensed “is paid for providing advice about securities to clients” according to the FINRA results footnote. A financial advisor must focus on your best interest and render advice and management in your best interest. If a firm is licensed as a “brokerage firm, also called a broker-dealer, [it] is in the business of buying and selling securities on behalf of its customer (as broker), for its own bank (as a dealer), or both” according to FINRA.org. A broker is a salesperson who works for a broker-dealer.

Another option is to ask friends and family — no database can beat a personal referral. You can also visit SmartAsset.com for both information about financial planning and to connect with a local financial advisor. The route you choose to take to find a financial advisor is up to you, but we recommend sticking to reliable resources to ensure that you find a financial advisor you can trust.

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Seek Financial Advisors With Reputable Credentials

During your search, you may come across several names or companies that sound exactly like what you’re looking for. However, the search doesn’t stop there. Once you find a few financial advisors that meet your criteria, the next thing you want to do is check their credentials. Unfortunately, there are some companies that offer easy-to-obtain credentials that allow individuals to pay a small fee and acquire credentials in an effort to appear to be an expert. This can make it difficult to distinguish the fake experts from the real ones.

Whether a firm is licensed as a Financial Advisor or a Broker-Dealer is the most important distinction in selecting an advisor, because it determines how the firm is compensated. If you want to know who has power in a transaction, follow the money. A broker-dealer can offer you investment products that are in the best interest of the firm and not yours, if the offer meets minimum suitability requirements — this is called a conflict of interest. A Financial Adviser must always act in your best interest because you are paying them for their advice.

Once you have selected a few financial advisers, verify their licensing history. Use the BrokerCheck service to view these advisors’ licensing history and any reported disclosures. According to FINRA.org, disclosures can include “customer complaints or arbitrations, regulatory actions, employment terminations, bankruptcy filings, and certain civil or criminal proceedings that they were a part of.” You may also want to visit the US Securities & Exchange Commission’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure website. You can search for any SEC or state-registered investment advisor and view their responses to required disclosures of any negative activity.

Ask Questions

After narrowing down your search and checking the financial advisor’s credentials, the next step is to schedule an initial consultation. Your financial advisor will be the person who provides you with advice about your finances and possibly even manages your investments. For this reason, you want to make sure they are someone you can trust and get along with, which is why the initial consultation is so important. The consultation gives you a chance to get to know a potential financial advisor. You should also use the consultation as an opportunity to ask questions. Some potential questions include:

  • How long have you been practicing?
  • How are you compensated?
  • Is any compensation disclosed in writing?
  • What services do you provide?
  • How will we communicate with each other?

Asking these questions, as well as any general questions you have about your finances, can help you get a better sense of who your financial advisor is and how they can help.

Reach Out to Brokerage Specialists Today!

Looking for a financial advisor you can trust? At Brokerage Specialists, we’re proud to offer financial planning services to residents throughout Grand Island and the surrounding areas. Whether you need help planning for retirement or you want help with all of your finances, our team of experts is here to assist you in any way that we can. Explore our website to read more about what we do, and when you’re ready, give us a call to schedule a consultation!