A 2022 study found that 62% of Americans admitted their financial planning needed some work. These simple tips will help you find the perfect advisor to manage your money.
Securing the bag is about more than just making large sums of money. It's also about being smart and properly managing your funds in an effort to build long-term and generational wealth. One of the best ways to grow and manage your accounts is with the help of a financial advisor, and it's never too late to add one to your life.
A recent study conducted by Northwestern Mutual found that 62% of U.S. adults agreed that their financial planning skills needed help. Additionally, only 35% of adults actually utilize the help of financial advisors.
As more Black and brown households seek to build and achieve wealth, here are a few tips to help you as you seek out the perfect financial advisor for you and your family's money.
Check out their credentials
You wouldn't necessarily trust a person without a medical degree and license to operate on you, so the same standard should hold true for the person you're entrusting with your finances. Asking, knowing, and understanding a potential financial advisor's educational background and credentials should be high on the list as you vet options. Look for those who are certified CPAs or CFPs to ensure you are heading in the right direction.
Ask how the advisor will get paid
Every advisor or firm may have different rules, but at the end of the day, they all get paid. Brian Walsh, CFP, senior manager of financial planning with SoFi, a personal finance company, says you should ask a potential financial advisor the following questions: “Do you earn commission on insurance sales? Do you earn commission on stock transactions? Are you affiliated with a financial company that offers proprietary products?”
Oftentimes, salespeople will pose as an advisor in an effort to sell you their company's financial products and services, versus actually working directly with you. You will also want to look for someone who works as a fee-only advisor.
“A fee based on a percent of the assets managed is a safe arrangement. When the client’s assets increase, then the advisor’s fee increases,” Brooks Campany, regional manager at Argent Trust Company in Oxford, Mississippi.
Find someone who will act as a fiduciary and keep you on track
The golden rule of finding the perfect match is if the advisor will go to bat for you, not only as your advocate, but also when it comes to making sure you stay on track to reach your goals.
“You should not invest with any advisor who doesn’t invest in their education. It’s got to be about you first,” Ed Slott, CPA and founder of IRAhelp.com, says.
While a good advisor will certainly provide sound advice when it comes to managing and growing your money, a great advisor will also work to keep you motivated to reach any goals you all have discussed. For instance, if you're getting word of a potentially lucrative market trend, a great advisor will first calm you down and help you weigh the pros and cons of that trend—versus pushing you to go in blind from the potential return it could bring.
“In times of market volatility, your advisor should be a steady voice of reason, helping you to avoid emotional decisions that could lead to costly mistakes,” says Sue Christoph, partner at RMB Capital in Chicago.