Not all financial titles are the same. Certain titles require years of in-depth training, while others, such as “retirement advisor,” do not. Your advisor should have successfully completed college courses in complex, high-level topics, such as estate planning, investments and income tax laws.
Make sure you work with a true expert who specializes in the services you need for the life stage you’re at. Some financial advisors specialize in estate planning, while others may have expertise in income tax laws or investments.
If your financial advisor has credentials from an unaccredited organization, you should be wary. Make sure she has not faced disciplinary action or had trouble with regulators or investors—your state’s consumer protection and attorney general’s offices are good places to start.
Get all of the fees detailed in writing so you know all of the costs. Some advisors are paid an hourly fee or monthly fee, while others make money from selling you products.
You want an advisor who’s working in your best interest. If he gets paid more by selling you a certain product, he may give you advice that’s helpful to his wallet, not necessarily your financial future. Make sure you are comfortable with potential conflicts.