When you think of the term “financial adviser,” do you picture a rich millionaire sitting across the desk from a high-priced money manager in a posh high-rise office? A lot of people do. And, in fact, the wealthy do use financial advisers to manage their money. But financial advisers are by no means “just for the rich.”
If you’re not a millionaire, you may think you’re doing everything you should – saving each month and contributing to a retirement plan. That’s a great start. But, is it enough? Working with a professional may be even more important if you don’t have a lot of money to work with.
Experienced financial, retirement and portfolio managers can help you save and invest the money you have to make it work harder. Perhaps it’s time to consider seeking the advice of a qualified finance professional.
Do You Need Financial Advice?
There are times when you know you need an expert. Perhaps you inherited a large sum of money. Maybe you received a settlement of some kind. You might have, against all the odds, won the lottery. You know managing a large sum of money is not a job for amateurs. But, if all that appears in your bank account every week is your paycheck, do you need a financial adviser? Maybe. Ask yourself if any of the following applies to you:
- Do you have children to send to college?
- Do you plan to retire at some point?
- Are you married, getting married soon or recently divorced?
- Would you like to start a business?
- Have there been major changes to your income – are you making substantially more or less money now than you have in previous years?
- Are you anxious about your financial future?
If you answered yes to any of the above, think about getting help.
How to Choose the Right Financial Adviser
Now that you’ve decided to begin working with a financial adviser, how do you go about finding one you can trust? Here are some guidelines to help you choose.
The Wall Street Journal advises consumers look for an adviser who is a credentialed Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP) member. CFPs must pass rigorous tests and commit to continuing education in both ethics and financial matters to retain certification.
Check the adviser’s fee structure. Typically, there are two ways financial managers earn money. One is through commissions, the other through a flat rate and /or percentage structure. In general, choose a money manager who charges fees rather than commissions. And, find an adviser who is transparent and upfront about fees charged.
Choose a manager who has experience working with people in your financial situation. Do you need a retirement money manager? Are you looking for advice about saving for your child’s education? Make sure the manager you choose has a proven track record with others in similar circumstances.
Yes or No?
Of course, if you’re hands-on and willing to learn, you could try to manage and invest for yourself. It’s like fixing your car – a select few individuals may be up to the task of fixing their own cars, but most people don’t have the time, knowledge or skills. It’s the same with managing your money. Sometimes it’s wise to work with an expert.