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5 Tips for Finding and Working with a Financial Professional

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Just because you lack the time and expertise to put together a long-term investment plan doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one. You’re a modern woman. You don’t cut your own hair or sew your own wardrobe. You rely on professionals. So, it makes sense to consider getting professional help with your finances too.

Whether you are an experienced investor or just starting out, below are 5 tips on how to develop a strong relationship with a financial professional:

1. Not All Financial Professionals Are Created Equally.

The educational, licensing and certification requirements that an individual must meet to be a financial professional vary across the industry. Two common, recognized designations within the industry are University Degree in a a relevant area of specialisation, supporting industry qualification such as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), RG146 Qualification, ADA1 for Derivatives and so many more . Kaplanprovides alot of the basic industry training so check out their site to find out the basic education your advisor needs.  Some financial professionals provide only planning services, with others will not only help you craft a plan but also assist you with implementing an investment strategy. Similarly, some financial professionals will help you select professional money managers to invest your savings, while others make the investment decisions on your behalf. Fees charged by financial professionals can vary too. You could be charged a flat fee, hourly fee, commission per trade or a percentage of the assets you have invested with them.

2. Choose Carefully.

This is a maxim to live by for selecting investments and when choosing a financial professional. To identify financial professionals in your area, you may want to start with your family, friends, and co-workers who know you well, or ask your lawyer  or accountant for their suggestions. Be prepared to go through several interviews before you find the “right” one. It may take time, but the effort can be worth it. Also, be prepared to discuss your financial situation and objectives with each candidate—and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions about their experience and training, services, product offerings, compensation, how they work with clients, and what happens when they are on vacation.

3. Invest in The Relationship.

To develop a robust, customised plan, a financial professional will want to know as much about you as you want to know about him or her, from what you want to achieve with your money to your investment acumen to your willingness to take risk. So, take time to consider your needs, expectations and goals in advance so that you will have a more rewarding, productive meeting.

The sooner you start working with a financial professional, the sooner you will be able to take charge of your finances, simplify your financial life, and devote your energy to other important matters.

4. Prepare For Your First Meeting.

To help you create a formal financial plan, a financial professional will need to assess your personal situation, including tolerance for risk, current portfolio allocation, and time horizon, among other matters. At your first meeting, you may want to bring documents such as wills; insurance policies; and pension, investment, and savings account statements. There is no single right way to establish long-term financial goals and objectives but providing your financial professional with some key information can help get you moving in the right direction.

5. Keep the Conversation Going.

Getting married, having children, buying or selling a home, starting a business, retiring—all of these are life’s milestones and, to varying degrees, make new and different demands on our finances. Because a financial plan is a long-term working document, it makes sense to meet with a financial professional at least once a year to make adjustments for any changes in your personal circumstances as well as market conditions. Throughout the year, use your monthly statements and the Internet to help you keep track of how your investments are doing and speak to your financial professional if you have questions about your investment performance.

Building a relationship of trust takes time. The sooner you start working with a financial professional, the sooner you will be able to take charge of your finances, simplify your financial life, and devote your energy to other important matters. Remember, though, that no investment process is fool-proof and that no financial professional can guarantee success. But, if you work with a qualified financial professional and incorporate their feedback, you may be able to improve your chances of meeting your financial goals.

 


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