By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
How to pick a financial advisor
Your money column
Placeholder Image
If you’re like most people, you have a variety of financial goals: college for your children, a comfortable retirement, a vacation home and so on. You might be able to achieve all these goals on your own, but you will likely find it a lot easier if you get a little help from a financial advisor.
But how do you choose the right one? For starters, ask friends, relatives and co-workers whom they use. Then interview some they recommend. What questions should you ask? Consider these:
• What are your qualifications? Make sure you are talking to someone who, at a minimum, has all the required licenses for selling securities.
• What is your experience? Find out how long someone has been a financial advisor, but don’t rule out a person with a limited amount of experience. A new financial advisor frequently brings a great deal of enthusiasm to work. An advisor’s longevity is less important than whether he or she has had experience working with someone like you, someone in your financial situation, with your goals and your investment preferences.
• What is your investment philosophy? Try to learn if someone favors a specific style of investing or a particular class of investments. These styles or classes may be well suited for some investors but inappropriate for others. If you believe the person you’re talking to has a “one size fits all” mentality, look elsewhere.
• How will you communicate with me? Financial advisors run their business in different ways, so there’s no one “right” way of communicating with clients. However, you need to feel comfortable that someone will always be available to answer your questions, review your accounts, evaluate your situation and make appropriate recommendations.
• What services do you provide? Find out how a prospective advisor can help you. For example, some people sell investments only, while others offer investments and insurance. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t need to be a “one-stop” shopper to obtaining a wide range of services. You might want to ask a prospective advisor if he or she has working relationships with legal and tax advisors. This team approach can be quite beneficial, especially when you get into the area of estate planning.
• How are you paid? Financial advisors get paid in several different ways: fees, commissions, salary or some combination of these methods.

Cardella is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Hinesville.
Sign up for our e-newsletters