So, how do you choose a financial advisor? Much like a trusted doctor who helps keep you physically healthy and provides guidance in this area of life, everyone – at any age or stage in life – should have a trusted financial advisor to help keep their financial health in the best shape possible. Financial advisors not only help you manage your current finances and lifestyle needs, but they help you plan for all of life's big moments ahead.
But, how do you know what financial advisors to trust with your wealth? Try these six steps when you're ready to begin your search (and remember, it's never too early or late to find an advisor you love working with).
Step 1: Decide what financial services you need
If you are considering working with a financial advisor, think about the long-term economic future you want to build and not just the services you need at the moment. Financial advisors work with you to create a strategy and help you manage your finances through every stage of your life, with decisions about retirement planning, college savings, large purchases, wills and estates, and more.
Some typical financial advisor services you may want to consider in your search include:
Step 2: Review advisor credentials
If you think you've found an advisor or firm you want to work with, the next step is reviewing the financial services team’s credentials. Not only does this include industry credentials like CFP (certified financial planner), PFS (personal financial specialist), and CFA (chartered financial analyst), but we also encourage you to read online reviews and look into customer feedback. How has each advisor served clients in the past? This can shine a light on who to work with.
Step 3: Learn about financial advisor options
Financial advisors can provide various services and often work with clients on specific products. These might include:
If you're overwhelmed or confused by all the investment options available, find a partner like Pathway Financial, which offers a wide array of financial products and recommendations around what you might need. When we suggest a financial product for you, we'll educate you on what it is and explain why and how it will help you achieve your financial goals.
Step 4: Ask about account minimums
Account minimums refer to how much money or assets you have to hold to work with a specific advisor or group. While some financial advisor firms require minimums and only serve a select clientele, others do not and will cater services to every financial situation. Depending on where you fall financially, account minimums may play a role in who you choose to (or are able to) work with.
Step 5: Find a fee structure that works for you
Financial advisors provide a service, so it's no surprise they get paid for helping you manage your finances. But not all payment structures are the same – and that doesn't make one better or worse than the other. First, you need to find a payment structure that works for you. These payments can be commission-based, fee-based, fee-only, or a combination.
It's essential to understand how your financial advisor is compensated; they should be open and transparent with that information. Be sure to understand the costs associated with each financial option, and always ask questions. Open communication is key to having a successful long-term financial relationship.
Step 6: Set up a first meeting with the financial advisor
Once you've finished doing your initial homework online, scheduling a meeting can be helpful before you hire them. Meeting face to face or over a phone or video call helps you get a better sense of the advisor's personality and if they'll be the right fit for you. Because this is someone you're going to take financial advice from and potentially work with for years to come, it's important that you understand how they conduct business and make sure you like their approach and style.
Searching for the right financial advisors in Pennsylvania for your needs?
Pathway Financial has a variety of financial advisors, many of who may be the perfect fit for what you need. We welcome you to learn more about our services and schedule a meeting with our team to see if we are a good fit.
Have other questions? We're here to help.