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5 Things to Understand Before Choosing a Financial Planner

I’m a little biased here, given my profession, but most people are better off working with a financial planner. From saving you money on taxes to aligning investments and insurance with your goals to easing some of that worry in your chest - good financial planners can be worth their weight in gold. However, there are good financial planners, and there are better financial planners - the list below is here to help you understand whether the planner you’re considering is a good fit for you.

1. Are they asking questions about you, or just about your money?

A financial planner can be a great guide to help you achieve your goals in life, but in order to do that, they need to know you - not just your finances. Gauge this in your initial conversation. Share what matters to you.

2. Do they have letters behind their name? Do you know what they mean?

Many view the CFP® (Certified Financial Planner) Certification as a good sign for a financial planner. It means they got a 4-year degree, took classes to learn more about holistic financial planning, passed a comprehensive exam, and have worked in the profession for at least a couple of years. You can find more information on their ADV 2B which they’re required to provide to you (it will also show any disciplinary actions taken against them). Mine is linked here.

3. Do you understand how your advisor gets paid AND the total cost to you?

Know their fees and payment methods. Advisors may use asset percentages, commissions, flat fees, or subscriptions. Oftentimes, it’s even a combination of some of these. Knowing what you pay and how your advisor gets paid will help you understand whether they have conflicts of interest. You can view how I charge at my Services page.

4. Will they review everything with you on a recurring basis?

Trust is important, but it’s also important that you don’t just hand everything over without an agreement on how you’ll check in moving forward. This will keep you both aligned and updated on changes in your life goals.

5. Do you like them?

Personal connection matters. Ideally, this is a long-term relationship. Disagreements happen, but commit to maintaining it or ending amicably. Personal finance can get pretty dull, so it’s best to at least have a positive relationship with your advisor.


As always, keep in mind that you don't have to go it alone. Check out my website to see what it's like to work with me and reach out if you have any questions.

If you found this post helpful, help spread the word! But remember, this is solely for educational purposes - it's not advice.

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