Let’s be honest, your money is the product of your sweat and tears … and sometimes your blood. I think it’s safe to say that you want to find a good financial in whom you have complete and total trust. But how do you do that? The process is easy, it starts with the internet and ends with an interview – yes you can do that.
Here are four ways to find a good financial advisor:
Search for financial advisors in your area
A Google search is the quickest and easiest way to find financial advisors in your city. If you want to get super specific you can even add in an area of expertise that you’re looking for such as Financial Advisor, Brooklyn, Millennials. This is the base of your search. From here you can create a short list based on their location, description and the information you find about them online.
Google will return results based on (among other things) the relevance to your search and the popularity of the website (also known as the authority a.k.a. legitimacy) as well as how up to date they are. Regularly updated websites will usually rank higher in Google. I would choose five financial advisors to start. Also, the top results with the word AD to the left, pay to be seen at the top of your search results.
Check them out on social media
From the five financial advisors you chose, narrow it down to a short list of three advisors based on their online presence. Have a look at their website and see if you get a good vibe. Take a look at their biography and see if their area of expertise aligns with your goals (such as buying a new home or saving for retirement) and ask yourself if their product offering meets your needs. Look up the financial advisors on LinkedIn and see if you like their overall presence and if the content they’re sharing is relevant to the type of services you need.
Ask about their credentials and education
Now it’s time to initiate personal contact. Send an email or give the advisors a call. This will give you an idea of what their level of customer service is like. If they get back to you within 48 hours, it’s a good sign. If your call or email goes unanswered for several days, it’s a big red flag.
Once you are in contact with the three advisors on your short list, have a phone conversation with them and ask about their designations, credentials and education. Ask if they operate with a firm, where they are licensed and which designations they have (i.e. securities dealer, life insurance and financial planner). I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t trust just anyone with my hard-earned money. I would like to know (if I wasn’t a financial planner myself) that my money is being managed by an experienced professional.
Meet them in person – at their office
Talking with a person can give you a good idea of whether your personalities match. It also will give you an idea of how the general working relationship will be. Narrow your short list down to two advisors and book appointments to meet them in person. It’s preferable to meet them at their office to ensure the operation is legit. Be open with them and ask questions about service expectations and fees. After meeting with them, take all the information home and follow up with them in a few days. It’s never a good idea to make an on-the-spot decision when it comes to your money.
And voila, you just found yourself a good financial advisor.