5 Things To Look For In A Financial Advisor

As you grow older, wiser, and (hopefully) richer, managing your assets becomes more difficult as well. You might have a few different retirement plans from employers, an inheritance, and a savings account that you feel like could be doing more for you in...some...other...kind of financial...thing?

Get a financial advisor.

Financial advisors provide advice to clients how best to save, invest, and grow their assets. NEA has theses recommendations for selecting a financial advisor:

1. Experience

Look for a financial advisor who has experience in the areas which affect you. If you have a pension versus a 401(k), or have an extensive stock portfolio (or want to build one), look for advisors who have experience in these areas. If they have clients with similar goals and assets to yours--and growth to boot--that’s a positive sign.

2. Clean Record

Ideally, your financial should abide by the law, and not have any infractions on their record. You can check disciplinary records through the Investment Advisor Public Disclosure website.

3. Transparent Fee Structures

Know what you’re paying for and why upfront. There are fee-only advisors, who charge fees based on services provided. There are commission-based brokers, who make money on the products you buy. And some advisors make money on the extra products that they’re able to sell to you. It’s important to makes sure that you know where you’re money is going--and who’s best interests are being served.

4. Designation

Once you start researching financial advisors, it might seem like everyone has a unique designation granted by a million different services. However, the good news is that there are only three which really matter:

  • CPA - Certified Professional Accountant
  • CFA - Chartered Financial Analyst
  • CFP - Certified Financial Planner

None of these are particularly better than others, but it depends on what you’re looking for in a financial advisor. The majority of folks are well-served by CFPs.

5. References

In your interviews with your potential financial advisors, always ask for references, particularly clients with profiles similar to yours. Request to see some sample plans as well, and ask questions. A lot of questions. Gauge how well they’re able to answer. If you leave feeling like you understood everything, then you know you’ve found a potential match.


Do you work with a financial advisor? What questions revealed the most about their philosophy?