Choosing a Financial Advisor: 5 Mistakes to Avoid | life lessons

A 2020 Northwest Mutual Survey found that 71% of Americans agree their financial planning needs improvement.

Yet only 29% work with a financial advisor. While these experts can help you get the most out of your investments, you need to be careful about choosing the right one.

With all the ups and downs of investing, choosing the right financial advisor can make all the difference when it comes to growing your funds. Research shows that people who work with an expert feel more comfortable and end up with 15% more money to spend in retirement.

“You want someone to advocate for you, but of all the reasons it’s really beneficial, I’d say it’s objectivity and accountability.” Ana Fernandez, Certified Financial Planner and Vice President of Financial Planning at AllGen Financial Advisors, says.

But finding the right advisor can be tricky. A common mistake: go with the first expert you meet. You should interview several before making an informed decision. Also, don’t choose someone who isn’t a registered fiduciary or expert who is ethically bound to act in your best interests.

Fernandez explains that “A fiduciary is held to a higher standard, when presenting advice to you, they are presenting advice that is in your best interests.”

Also, make sure you know their credentials. Ask about the licenses and tests they have passed and if they are a certified financial planner.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask how they are paid. Some “paid” advisors will charge you a flat rate no matter what. Others take a percentage of your assets. And some are paid commissions by mutual funds which may be a conflict of interest.

Don’t skip difficult questions. Learn about your advisor’s specialties. Some focus on retirement planning while others spend most of their time managing business owners’ portfolios.

The Financial Planning Association, FPA for short, can help you find a planner in your area. Visit their website.

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