A Senior’s Guide to Choosing the Best Financial Advisor

Best financial advisor

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Your money was earned with decades of hard work, so choosing the best financial advisor to manage that money is critical.  When looking for the best financial advisor for seniors, it is not enough that you ask about their credentials and experience. There are several other factors that you must take into consideration as well.

You’ll want to make sure that whoever you choose is familiar with your retirement plans including what city you plan to live in, let’s assume it’s Chicago, and how you plan to spend your retirement. 

To help narrow down your choices, check out this list of qualities that the best financial advisors possess.

Use a Certified Financial Planner

If you want to find the best financial advisor be sure that they are a Certified Financial Planner™. Note that the term “financial advisor” is just a generic name for anyone who knows something about finances and planning. But, if what you’ve got is a CFP, you can be assured that such a person went through proper education and training. 

Certified Financial Planners have a high level of education regarding insurance, estate planning, taxation, and investments. Certified Financial Planners have to meet specific education and training requirements. And, they are also required to undergo continuing education. 

Certified Financial Planners adhere to the policy of putting their clients’ interests ahead of their own. This is to ensure you’re getting the best advice on what to do with your money. 

By checking out FINRA’s website, you can learn about any CFPs licenses and work history. It’s a good idea to find a local financial advisor. For example, if you live in Chicago, the FINRA site will help you find a financial advisor in Chicago

Great CFPs Openly Discuss Fees and Commissions

Some advisors function on a fee-based or commission-based arrangement. Some of them operate using both methods. 

Experts say it is better to choose fee-only advisors. This is because they are less likely to give biased advice compared to commission-based advisors. 

The latter is tied to certain banks and insurances, and the advice they give is tailored in a way that will make them earn a commission from these companies. 

Fee based advisors earn their income mostly from fees they charge their clients. But, they can also receive a commission from banks or insurance products they recommend to their clients. 

However, each CFP sees to it that whatever they recommend is all part of what they believe could be the best for their clients. 

This also supports the idea that the best advisor is one that openly discloses to their client that they will be receiving a commission from the insurance company. 

They also make sure that it is the most appropriate move for their client. In other words, the best advisor should see to it that their clients fully understand any advice they receive. 

Seniors hiring a CFP must also see to it that they are aware of why they are asked to pay certain fees. If the advisor is not willing to discuss how everything is handled in terms of payments, better look for another. 

The Best Financial Advisors Listen to Their Clients

Seniors need to gauge their prospective financial advisors ability to listen during the initial meeting. The best advisor is one that thoroughly discusses things based on a senior’s agenda.

Advisors must be good at setting aside their interests and focus more on how they can help their clients. 

If an advisor readily gives out options even before he hears your concerns, you’d better start considering other advisors. 

An advisor who takes the time to teach you is a good sign that he’s willing to help. Beware of advisors who push their recommendations without first helping you understand your situation. 

They Are Willing to Give References

One of the best ways to find out if the advisor is good is to ask former clients. You can do this by asking the advisor himself for references. If the advisor is confident about his credibility, he will not hesitate to give you a list of references. Seniors should take the time to talk to the advisor’s former clients, both old and new. 

This will give you a better idea of the advisor’s working relationship with his clients. Try your best to talk to at least two of the advisor’s current clients. Ask about performance including the advisors responsiveness.

Testimonies from previous clients will let you know if the advisor helped them stay on track and achieve their financial goals. If you notice the advisor is reluctant about giving references, move on. 

Advisors who have built an excellent reputation for years host events for their previous and prospective clients. This is the time when they give potential clients the opportunity to find out their capability to help their clients. For seniors, attending such events will also give them the best chance to ask the advisor some questions. 

They Adhere to The Fiduciary Standard

The best financial advisor displays the qualities of a true fiduciary and the kind of person who puts his client’s interest first before his own. 

The primary goal of a good advisor is to help you. They perform their duties even if it costs them something. The best advisor won’t mind foregoing a commission on occasion if it is the best thing for his client.

What is most important for him is that he gave recommendations that will truly help his client achieve a better financial future. He is less concerned about matching the right product for you. He makes sure that all the possible opportunities are explored to ensure the client gets the best. This is because earning a commission is not his top priority. 

They Motivate Their Clients

Best financial advisor for seniors

The best financial advisor will not only help you choose the best strategy but, they also help you adhere to recommended practices. Their job does not end with giving you the right tools to succeed financially. They need to continually motivate you to achieve financial stability. 

The best advisors are aware of the fact that the best financial plan is pointless unless one is determined enough to make it a reality. Advisors should serve as the light that guides seniors in a way that helps them get the most out of their money. 

Good advisors motivate clients to make lifetime commitments to the best practices recommended. The best advisors are the ones whose advice positively impacts a senior’s lifetime while mediocre advisors give information that only works temporarily. 

Quick Summary

  • Your money was earned with decades of hard work so, choosing the best financial advisor to manage that money is critical
  • Make sure to choose a Certified Financial Planner. Note that the term “financial advisor” is just a generic name for anyone who knows something about finances and planning
  • If the advisor is not willing to discuss how everything is handled in terms of payments, better look for another
  • The best advisor is one that thoroughly discusses things based on a senior’s agenda
  • One of the best ways to find out if the advisor is good is to ask former clients
  • The best advisor is one who manifests the qualities of a true fiduciary and the kind of person who puts his client’s interest first before his own
  • The best advisors are the ones whose advice positively impacts a senior’s lifetime while mediocre advisors give information that only works temporarily

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