Questions to ask a financial planner

Choosing the right financial planner requires some homework. You must be comfortable discussing the details of your finances, goals, lifestyle and financial status. The person you choose should be trustworthy, resourceful, knowledgeable and creative in mapping out the right strategies for your financial future.

Asking the following questions can indicate how well a financial planner will be able to serve your needs:

  • In what area(s) of financial planning do you specialize, if any?
  • What continuing education courses have you taken, or are you taking, in personal financial planning?
  • Do you have any advanced degrees, certificates or financial planning credentials?
  • How often have you performed similar services in the past?
  • How long have you been providing financial planning services?
  • How are you compensated for your services?
  • What type of financial planning service do you think I need based on my concerns and goals?
  • Can you provide the names of clients or colleagues I may contact?
  • Are you able or willing to help me implement my financial plan?
  • What is your process for monitoring my financial plan?
  • Do I have to sign any agreements or engagement letters to define the scope of work?
  • Are there any conflicts of interest?

The financial services industry is highly regulated in some areas and not at all in others. Many false professional titles are used to depict people as experts in fields they are not actually experts in. This is a tactic often used to help make sales. Make sure to choose someone that can prove a proper level of competency, ethics and integrity through licensing and accreditation.