How to find the right financial adviser
Written by Stephen Bottomley on January 24, 2018.
Will 2018 be the year you finally take financial planning seriously? You’ll need a financial adviser and here’s how to find the right one.
For many people the start of a new year is a good opportunity to think about the direction their life is heading in and decide on some goals for the year. I like to think in terms of goals rather than resolutions as they are more easily measurable. That means that at some point in the future you will be able to tick them off as done.
It’s always great to have at least one financial goal so if you haven’t already got one, why not make this the year that you start taking financial planning seriously and find a financial adviser to help you?
For many people that can be a scary thought, after all, you will probably share as much personal information with your financial adviser as you would with a therapist. You will need to be open about the realities of your life - your goals, your fears, your relationships – which, let’s face it, can be a bit bizarre with a total stranger. So yes, it’s important to find the right person, someone that you trust and have confidence in.
It’s also a very common perception that financial advisers are only for the very rich and I’d like to dispel that myth right away. The vast majority of my clients are ordinary people who want to get their finances in order and work towards specific financial goals, most often a comfortable retirement. Very few of my clients are vastly wealthy so certainly don’t think an adviser is going to scoff at your income or the fact that you don’t have six figures in the bank (if they do, find someone else!).
Most advisers will offer an initial consultation free of charge so you can suss out the lay of the land and decide if they are the right person to help you achieve your financial goals. It pays to be well prepared for this first meeting so that you can make the most of your time together and make an informed decision.
Here are four pointers on getting the best of your free consultation:
1. Research ahead
You can find out about your adviser’s experience and credentials ahead of the meeting so there is no need to go over all this again. Instead concentrate on whether you like the way they communicate and whether they make you feel at ease.
2. Be informed
Ensure that you have information at your fingertips to answer the questions that an adviser is likely to ask to get an idea of your current financial situation. Bring up-to-date statements of all your savings, investments and pensions as well as an overview of your expenditure. A table of all regular outgoings such as rent or mortgage, bills and insurance payments is useful as well as an idea of what you spend on non-essentials. Have a think about exactly what you are trying to achieve both in the long term and the short term so you can discuss concrete goals. Perhaps you are saving up a deposit for a house or you want to start a college fund for your baby daughter?
3. Ask questions
Lots and lots of them. Your financial adviser could have a huge influence on your future so it’s absolutely right that you should get answers to anything that is unclear to you. There are a few standard things I would recommend that you definitely clarify:
Payment – do they work on a fee or commission basis. Either can be fine but you certainly want to make sure that your adviser is upfront on this. If they can’t answer clearly and confidently, be suspicious.
Independence – whether or not they are tied to certain providers or are free to recommend all products on the market.
How they work – how often will they meet with you and review your situation? It’s important that your financial plan is specifically tailored to you so regular reviews are important.
What specific services do they provide? – financial planning is not just about saving for retirement. It should be about both creating and protecting wealth. The best financial advisers will cover all bases including retirement and education planning, life and health insurance, estate planning and investment.
Who invests your money? – Here at Infinity we believe that financial planning and investment management are two very different roles and we don’t try to do both. We carry out the planning part with you and entrust the investment side to award-winning professionals who are highly skilled at doing just that.
4. Trust your instincts
If you come out of your initial meeting liking and trusting the adviser, and feeling that you can confide in them, then go with your instincts.
If you’re going to make 2018 the year you get your finances in order, I’d be more than happy to accompany you on that journey. Why not contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation to see if we’d make a good fit?