By Reno Frazzitta
Nobody wants to take chances with their health. So when we need care, we want the best medical professionals on the job.
Why? Because they’re less likely to make mistakes!
The best people have a well-rounded blend of experience, knowledge and practical application. And they form a rapport that provides comfort and confidence in their ability to deliver quality.
Health and wealth are similar in many ways. Obviously, our health is the top priority, but financial well-being is important too. So just as we want the best in health care, we should also seek the best advisors for our finances.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment growth of 27% in the financial advising industry (economy-wide average is 11%). So finding an advisor shouldn’t be a problem!
But how do you find the right one? And what does “the best” even look like?
The best advisors help navigate you in the right financial direction over time using a holistic approach, understanding you and your goals. They put your interests ahead of theirs, knowing both your current situation and your desired future.
They develop mindful strategies that consider savings, growth, taxes, estate planning and more. Then they put together a comprehensive, actionable plan built specifically for you. The best will also consistently review and tweak things with you as needed.
Working with a quality financial professional could be one of the best fiscal decisions you make. That’s because someone who knows the laws, puts you first and provides solutions that fit will help you succeed while minimizing costly mistakes.
Where to Start
One of the best ways to find a great advisor is to ask people you know. For instance, your CPA, attorney, business partners, colleagues and family are all potential resources.
Ask why they like working with their advisor. Also ask what they dislike. It’s important to understand as much as possible from the client perspective, because that could be you someday.
Not everyone knows someone working with a great advisor, so many in the industry hold seminars or workshops. These events educate people on financial concepts and introduce the advisor’s practice.
You can also search online for qualified advisors near you. The advisor search sites below are from reputable regulatory agencies and contain detailed information like employment history, licenses and more.
- Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
- International Foundation for Retirement Education (InFRE)
The best advisors will tick several boxes in terms of skill set, professional acumen and demeanor.
You want an advisor who is highly credentialed, of course. Make sure they’re properly certified and don’t have blemishes on their track record.
However, those are just “table stakes.” Credentials may be the least important part of the vetting process. After all, many people can study and pass tests. While it’s a good starting point, the right advisor must fit more criteria.
It’s imperative you’re comfortable and confident working with your advisor, just as you are with your doctor. You need to feel good about the strategies and solutions they propose, and believe in their expertise. You need a positive overall feeling when interacting with them. Trust your intuition.
You want someone who’s knowledgeable on several issues, not just one area – someone who knows tax-advantaged strategies, estate planning strategies and concepts, along with business planning if needed. The best advisors’ expertise can handle the complex and dynamic global financial environment.
The best advisors will work with your team – like your CPA, attorney, estate planning professional or others. They’re happy to work with those who have your interests at heart. Ask potential advisors about their working relationships with other clients’ professional advisors. Do they communicate regularly, making sure things are on track and everyone’s on the same page?
The highest price doesn’t equal the highest quality. In fact, there isn’t really a relationship between an advisor’s quality and how much he or she charges. Obviously you don’t want to pay exorbitant fees, but it’s reasonable for reputable professionals to be compensated for their work.
How do you judge the value?
A good litmus test is asking yourself if you’re on track to reach your goals and how your advisor is helping (or hurting) the process. Then consider the fees you pay. Use your intuition to think critically. The best advisors are worth their fees.
Find the Right Fit
Forging a relationship with a “best of the best” financial professional is time well spent. Finding one is an examination of the tangible (i.e., certifications), the intangible (i.e., comfort level) and a matter of fit. When vetting advisors, be thorough, honest and think long-term.
Ultimately, take everything into consideration because the benefits of the relationship can literally last a lifetime and beyond.