How To Find the Right Financial Advisor

How To Find the Right Financial Advisor

Hiring a financial advisor can be one of the most important hiring decisions of your financial life.  Where do you start your search? How do you know that you found the right advisor?

Should I trust my friend or colleague’s recommendation?

Advantages: Your friend or colleague may be in the same chapter of life as you and most likely dealing with the same issues. For example, if you are in your 30s and actively saving for retirement, your fellow coworker or best friend may well be in the same boat. Your fellow coworker may be working with just the right advisor who specializes in helping young professionals accumulate wealth, and can easily calculate how much to save for retirement and how to protect your young family .

Disadvantages: I have found that even when two individuals work together at the same pay scale and in the same office, their financial situation can vary drastically. Despite sharing the same coffee maker, one may be a very good saver and have amassed a small fortune, while the other could be working at the same job and same-sized cubicle, but have only half as much as his contemporary. If you are going to listen to your friends or coworkers, make sure that you have reasonably the same financial picture and are in the same chapter of life.

Finding a financial advisor online

Advantage: Once upon a time people would laugh at the thought of finding their soulmate online. Fast forward to 2021, when it has become the norm – and the same can be said for finding a financial advisor online. As with dating, it isn’t about the quantity of available dates but the quality of the candidate that matters. Determining how to find a financial advisor can be tricky. The advantage of looking for a financial advisor online is to quickly determine geographically all of those advisors close to you and  how long they’ve been practicing in their specialty.

Disadvantage: Do your due diligence online by turning over every stone. Many financial advisors are required to cite their professional history, including previous employers, education, amount of assets managed, number of clients and even client complaints.

Radio Show & TV Show

Advantage: There are multiple financial advisors in each town that host radio shows, which can enable you to listen to each in order to understand their methodology and hear their passion for helping clients. Many advisors will share their investment philosophies, tax strategies, service standards and even share with you their personal story so you can get to know them. It’s a great way to be introduced to an advisor and when you’re done – you can change the station.

Disadvantage: Hearing an advisor is one thing, but communicating and building a relationship one-on-one is another. After narrowing down your investment professional candidates, it critical to meet with each one in person to make you have rapport. Remember, you don’t need a good talker to help you plan for retirement, but rather a good listener who becomes the financial confidant for your family for years to come.

Live Events/Seminars:

Advantage: I’ve been told by clients that they could eat out every night of the week with all of the invitations they receive to timeshares, “opportunities” and financial seminars. Yes, eating is an advantage, but I believe you can get to know someone fairly quickly by spending an hour with him. During these talks, an advisor should be able to share with you tangible ways to improve your financial situation and give you a range of items to chew on well after the presentation.

Disadvantages: We all know the feeling of being trapped and walking out of an experience feeling like you need a shower – because you feel dirty afterward. I have to admit, I have gone to a few events and felt as though I was being sold, not educated. No one should have to go through that.

What about my CPA or Attorney?

Advantage: CPAs and attorneys can be great resources for recommendations because they often work closely with financial advisors who prioritize integrating tax and estate planning with financial planning. However, I have had been told by CPAs and attorneys that few financial advisors truly collaborate with them, which limits the pool of recommendations they have to give.

Disadvantages: When we rely on another person’s recommendation, we have a tendency to shortcut the due diligence process. We tend to overlook the questions and research we should pursue because we believe that this person would not lead us astray. Usually this is a correct assumption, but sadly we are fallible and, when asked for a recommendation, our minds may take us to the last financial advisor we met at a recent rotary meeting. In receiving a recommendation, take it with a grain of salt and continue your thoroughness to investigate finding the right advisor for your family’s retirement.

When you’re ready to hire, there are many different ways to locate a financial advisor. Locating prospective advisors is the first step in the process of hiring one. I encourage you to read my article on how to interview a financial advisor by clicking here.

SWAN Capital is registered to conduct advisory business in Alabama & Florida and in other jurisdictions as permitted by law. Advisory services offered through SWAN Capital, LLC. Neither the firm nor its agents or representatives may give tax or legal advice. Individuals should consult with a qualified professional for guidance before making any purchasing decisions. Although there is no up-front tax deduction for Roth IRA contributions, qualified distributions are income tax free. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. SWAN Capital is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency.


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