How to find a financial planner


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Finding a good financial planner can be difficult. Financial planners are professionals who specialize in helping individuals manage their finances. They guide investments, retirement plans, insurance, taxes, and other important areas of personal finance. (You can use the tool from our partners at SmartAsset to find an advisor near you directly below)

But, where do you find a financial planner worth speaking to? Thankfully, there are several ways to find a professional who meets your specific needs. 

“Hiring a financial planner who lives nearby and understands the local economy, cost of living and regional employers can be valuable, especially if your personal circumstances are deeply tied to such factors,” said Brian Thorp, Wealthtender CEO. “We help people every day get to know financial advisors who may be a good fit to work together.

To find the right financial planner for you, Thorp suggests looking for professionals who have earned the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation and providing clear details about the services they offer and their pricing on their website.

“Your relationship with a financial planner can last for decades, so it’s important to learn as much as you can about them upfront”, Thorp adds. “By reviewing the websites of multiple financial planners, you can compare services, costs and learn about their areas of specialization to make a more informed hiring decision.”

Related: Traditional IRAs & Roth IRAs: What’s the difference?

What is a financial planner?

A financial planner helps you plan for retirement, college education, and other important life events. Financial planners help you understand how much money you need to save each month and what investments best meet your goals. They also help clients avoid common mistakes such as buying too little insurance or investing in high-risk investments. A financial planner will also help their clients develop an overall financial strategy that fits their unique situation.

Related: Planning for retirement: How to get started

How to choose a financial planner

Choosing a financial planner is an essential step in one day retiring financially independent. The best way to choose a financial planner is to ask them questions about their experience and how they would handle your situation.

You should also look at the type of services offered by the advisor. For example, if you want someone who specializes in retirement planning, you should work with someone who is an expert in that area.

Related: Financial planner vs retirement planner: What’s the difference?

Where to find a financial planner near you?

There are many places to find a financial planner. Whether it’s a referral from friends or family, a Google search, you will no doubt find many options to choose from.

National Association of Financial Advisors

When choosing a financial advisor, consider one who is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). The NAPFA website is a free resource that allows consumers to search for fee-only financial planners based on location. It’s easy to use and provides information on all types of financial planners, including fee structures, licensing requirements, and more.

The Garrett Planning Network

The Garrett Planning Network is a searchable database of local planners specializing in retirement planning, estate planning, wealth management, tax preparation, insurance, and investment advice. Notably, Garrett advisors are fiduciaries to their clients. Like a lawyer, this means the advisors are legally, and ethically bound to place the best interests of their clients first. As a result, you can rest assured that they make the best decisions for you, and not for themselves.

What to look for in a financial planner

Finding financial help is easy when you know the right questions to ask. The first step is to find out what kind of help you need. If you’re interested in saving money, you may want to consider working with a certified financial planner. Certified financial planners have passed rigorous exams and must adhere to strict ethical standards. These rules ensure that consumers receive unbiased advice.

Next, look for someone who has experience working with clients that have similar needs as you. For example, if you’re younger, you may need advice on retirement planning, estate planning, insurance, investments, and taxes. 

Also, don’t hesitate to ask about their fee structure. Fee-only advisors are usually the gold standard, as they are compensated by you, and you alone. Fee-only advisors don’t get a commission on the back end.

Related: Retirement planning calculators you need to try

Final thoughts

With financial advice, you probably don’t want a “jack of all trades”. If you are looking for a financial planner, it is crucial to choose someone that is educated, acts in your best interest, and can assist and advise you based on your own individual needs.

Rick Orford is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon best-selling author, investor, and mentor. He’s appeared on Good Morning America and has been featured in the Washington Post, Yahoo Finance, MSN, Insider, and more. His passion is personal finance, and he works tirelessly to deliver content in an easy-to-understand manner.


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