Four Things You Should Ask When Choosing a Financial Advisor

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The benefits of having a certified financial advisor who can help you optimize your finances at every level are virtually endless. A good financial advisor can help you complete your taxes each year, invest smarter and manage your portfolio, and much more.

But if you’ve never had an investment advisor or certified financial planner before, knowing how to find a financial advisor with the right qualifications and experience can be tough.

To help you with this, here are the top four questions you should always ask when trying to find a financial advisor who is right for you:

1. How experienced are you?: Every financial advisor you speak with should be able to tell you his or her level of experience. Ideally, you should choose a certified financial advisor with many years of experience in the field and a good track record of helping clients like you with their investments and finances.

2. What qualifications and certifications do you have?: In addition to a college degree in finance or business, your ideal financial advisor will have some sort of certification — typically, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP) gives out these certifications.

3. How are you paid for your services?: It’s important to understand how your financial advisor will charge you for his or her services. Some certified financial advisors charge by the hour, while others will charge a percentage of the assets in your investment portfolio. There are also others who use a commission-based system of charging.

4. Can you explain this concept to me?: You don’t want your financial advisor to explain financial concepts in a language you don’t understand. Try asking your prospective advisor to explain a financial or investing concept to you, such as the difference between active and passive investing. If you can understand what he or she says, you’ve found a great certified financial advisor. Find more.