Financial planners can help people out a lot but it is not at all easy to find a very good one. The big problem is that CPAs can only call themselves that if they have the necessary credentials. The financial planner does not need that. Anyone can say he is a really good financial planner. Also, many are not actually biased in the advice offered, as mentioned by Crystal Clanton, since they just push something related to personal financial benefits. Whenever you want to choose a great financial planner, here are those things you absolutely have to consider.
The best financial planners can prove they are really good. They have credentials like PFS (Personal Financial Specialist) or CFP (Certified Financial Planner). This confirms that the individual did get the necessary experience and education to work for you. These credentials can only be obtained by those that did meet certification requirements. Also, the simple fact that certification examination is in place means that practice standards are respected, together with requirements for continuous education.
Expertise On Subject Matter
The financial planner does not always have to be experts in specific subjects. As an example, you might find a really great planner that knows everything about proper tax analysis but might not actually have the expertise needed to deal with tax rules. In a similar fashion, the financial planner might be great at creating a really good financial plan but is not a good authority when looking at investments. You always want to work with those financial planners that are subjects in the personal finance areas that are really important to you, according to the financial goals you have.
Financial planners cannot service absolutely all client types. Most are going to specialize in a specific type of clients that have specific profiles. As an example, the personal planner can build expertize and then customize services in order to serve people that are in a specific profession or at a life stage that normally has some net worth and financial goals. You want to ask the financial planner about the specializations he has in regards to the clients that are preferred. This determines right fit based on your current financial goals and situation.
Used Fee Structure
This will highly determine the main interest of the financial planner. You get to see if he is interested in helping you or himself. The professional that only charges a fee for the advice offered is different than the one that also gets some referral fees or commissions. The advice that is coming from the financial planner that does not have extra financial incentives to recommend something specific is going to be unbiased. This is the one that you want to hire as the advice given will be based the situation you are in and what you are interested in.
Always think about all the facts that were mentioned above and never neglect your gut. If you feel that the financial planner you talk with is not the best one for you, there is a pretty good possibility you are right.