Tackling financial planning on your own can be tricky . There are so many aspects that you need to consider in order to make the wisest investments that will yield high returns for your future. Many people don’t feel comfortable with a do-it-yourself approach to investing and prefer to trust the advice of a professional financial advisor. The question is, how do you decide which wealth management advisor is right for you?
If you are in the market for a top-notch financial advisor, here are a few tips to help you find the right person for the job.
Ask About Specialties
Before you consider hiring the right financial advisor, you need to evaluate what you are going to bring to the relationship. Identify your short- and long-term goals, how much money you plan to invest, and how much you can reasonably spend in fees. Some financial advisors might be geared more toward ultra-high net worth individuals while others may cater more toward those who are in the early stages of saving for retirement.
Interviewing potential candidates can help you to identify a good fit. Look for advisors who can create a unique plan that will fit your needs instead of forcing you to fit into a mold that they have created.
Consider Hiring a Fiduciary
Not all wealth management advisors are created equal. If you will be investing large sums of money, then you want to make sure that you are making decisions that are in your best interest. The reason many people choose to hire a financial advisor is because they don’t know how to actively manage their own wealth. You will likely depend heavily on the opinions and expert knowledge of your advisor during the financial planning process.
While you are searching for the right wealth advisor, you will likely hear some of them referred to as fiduciaries. This means that they are legally obligated to act in the best interest of the client. Even if other financial moves may net them a higher paycheck, they are obligated to tell you what is going to be more beneficial to you long-term.
Some financial advisors soley adhere to the suitability standard. They don’t necessarily have to ensure that investments are in your best interest – just that they are suitable for your overall investment goals. This does not necessarily mean that they offer lower quality products. After all, they want you to remain one of their clients for decades to come. However, it does mean that they may make commissions on the sale of certain products whereas fiduciaries do not.
Not all financial advisors are fiduciaries. This will be explored a bit more when we talk about how you might pay for your financial planning.
Have you been trying to find a wealth management advisor that checks all of your boxes? At BentOak Capital we value our clients needs, so contact us to find out if we are the right fit for you.
Understand Fee Structures
When you hire a local financial advisor, you should know exactly what it is going to cost you. There are three different ways that you might be expected to pay your new wealth management advisor. He or she may work on a fee-only, fee-based, or commission basis. Here is the breakdown of what you can expect with each one.
A fee-only advisor is typically the most straightforward way to approach payment for your financial planning. Under this payment structure, your advisor will collect an agreed-upon fee for their services. It might be one flat rate for their time or an hourly fee for providing ongoing advice to you at regular intervals. For example, a fee-only advisor may review your portfolio annually or quarterly for a set sum. They may also charge you a percentage of the assets under their management.
If you opt for additional services like estate planning, you may be on the hook for greater fees.
A fee-based advisor is a little different than fee-only. This payment structure allows your advisor to receive fees paid by you like a fee-only advisor. However, they can also accept commissions that are paid to them based on the investment products you select. This means that they are not necessarily fiduciaries.
There is a lot of debate in the world of financial planning over advisors who are paid based on commission. This means that their income is completely dependent on which products they sell or how many accounts they open for clients.
Many would argue that this structure means that your wealth management advisor may not always have your best interests at the forefront of their mind. They could be more interested in selling investment products that net them a higher paycheck instead. While some commission-based wealth advisors are also fiduciaries, this is not an absolute requirement.
Check Their Credentials
Don’t just settle for the first financial advisor that you find in the phone book. Take some time to comb through their qualifications, background, and experience. You wouldn’t select a doctor without making sure that their qualifications are impeccable, so why select a wealth management advisor this way?
A great way to find out an advisors credentials is to do a FINRA broker check. Here you can see all of the credentials that may help you determine an advisors experience.
Another key to ensuring a good working relationship with your financial planner is to check for disciplinary actions. Check with the CFP Board to ensure that your prospective financial planner has not made it onto their list of disciplined individuals.
Finding a qualified financial advisor is a key aspect of managing your wealth successfully. The right person can make a world of difference in the long-term yield of your investment portfolio. Be sure to do your research before signing on the dotted line with any particular brokerage or individual.
Wealth Management Solutions with BentOak Capital
Are you ready to take control of your financial future? Would you like to partner with an experienced team that can help you manage your wealth?
If so, then it’s time to contact BentOak Capital. We offer comprehensive financial planning services to clients in a variety of fields. You can reach us by completing a contact form or by calling one of our three Texas-based offices.