There is a plethora of information about what to look for in a financial advisor/questions to ask a financial planner/how to find a financial advisor.  In fact, a quick google search on “How to find a financial advisor?” found about 74,200,000 results.

Two critical issues that are rarely mentioned, though are:

  1. Are you comfortable with them?
  2. What is their motivation?

A financial planner is like a doctor.  When a doctor takes your temperature and checks your blood pressure, they learn a little bit about your health.  To make a diagnosis, though, they ask you about your symptoms.  A financial planner learns about your general financial condition by reviewing account statements, insurance policies, and the like but can’t help you plan for retirement or college without understanding what your vision for retirement looks like or the type of college your child might attend.

When looking for a financial advisor, find someone who feels comfortable.  If you are afraid to tell your advisor about an account, a debt, or something going on in your life because you are worried they will judge you, charge you a higher fee or even worse, sell you something, you are with the wrong person.

The second issue is a little more subtle.  When you are interviewing potential advisors, ask them why they do what they do?  Watch for responses that sound self-motivated or ego driven.  For example, “Because it seemed like a good way to make lots of money!” or “Because I thought I could do it better than…”.   Listen for responses that sound like they are interested in you, your goals, and your success.

Mine:  to help people.  I love what I do because I get paid to help people move from uncertainty, anxiety and fear to confidence and empowerment.  I get to help people grow and build for the future!

This is where all the other articles on this subject some into play, and I’ve included links to some of them.  Using an advisor who is a Certified Financial PlannerTM, charges fees instead of commissions, and is independent (rather than a salesperson for a company), will increase your odds of finding someone who is truly interested in you, your goals and your success.