How to Choose the Right Financial Advisor

You’ve decided working with a financial advisor might benefit your financial future and your company 401(k), but now it’s time to choose the right financial advisor. Some advisors offer more comprehensive advice than others, but it’s difficult to predict the kind of advice an advisor will offer you. Receiving advice from an amateur advisor should leave you doubtful, especially when your life savings are on the line, but an experienced advisor may leave you feeling confident. While no one can predict the future, you can judge advisors by how they conduct business and their credentials. There’s certainly no one answer when it comes to choosing the right financial advisor, but there are ways to determine who might be the best choice for you.

What to Expect from an Advisor.

Since financial advisors will be helping you plan for your goals. It’s important they take the time to get to know you. Many offer free first meetings or consultations for this reason. Advisors will likely take notes on your finances and your financial goals. If the advisor is trying to sell or sway your goals during this first meeting, it could mean a bad match. After the initial meeting, advisors tend to have different ways of continuing business. Be sure you’re clear on their procedures, particularly when you’re expected to pay fees.

Like many jobs, experience may boost an advisor’s credibility and increases the likelihood he or she has worked with clients who may have similar financial goals and woes. Experience can be measured in both years as an advisor, or years devoted to a particular financial field. The advisor that will take the time to fully and completely educate you on your options is the one you want. Look for an independent advisor, not one that is tied to a particular insurance company, brokerage firm or mutual fund.


Credentials are important. They are the standard by which advisors have proven their knowledge on a particular area in the financial realm. Many designations also require recipients to uphold a code of ethics, while some credentials require end-of-course examinations and renewal tests. The series of a credential’s tests, courses, and integrity regulations allow clients to get a better idea of an advisor’s strengths when it comes to financial knowledge and discipline.

There are many types of credentials covering numerous financial topics. For example, an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor, or AWMA, studied a rigorous course on wealth strategies, equity-based compensation plans, tax reduction alternatives, and asset protection alternatives.

Accredited Asset Management Specialist or AAMS designate individuals who have completed a rigorous course of study encompassing investments, insurance, tax, retirement and estate planning issues.

Professional Plan Consultant, or PPC is well-versed in the legal and regulatory landscape and implementation of efficient processes for retirement plan administration.

The type of credentials you should look for correspond with your financial goals. It’s a good idea to check the requirements for the credentials of a potential advisor. If you feel the advisor has been sufficiently tested in a particular financial area that corresponds with your financial goals, then he or she may be a good fit for your financial planning.

When choosing a financial advisor, keep in mind experience, credentials, and meeting methodology. Trust your instincts: a financial advisor should make you feel comfortable, not doubtful. After all, your financial future deserves careful consideration.

Whether you have a dollar or a million dollars in your retirement account you will be able to explore the value of a real advisor simply by visiting the Self Directed Brokerage Account advisor contact site. From this site you can begin to take advantage of the features of your retirement plan.  If you wish you can also download a fact finder sheet that can be used to create your personal retirement financial plan

Securities and advisory services offered through Independent Financial Group, LLC (IFG). Member FINRA/SIPC. Symphony Financial and IFG are not affiliated.

To learn more about Rick Willoughby, view his Paladin Registry research report.

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