Hiring a financial professional can be a daunting task, because like a mechanic or an electrician, you just don’t know who to trust anymore. It’s natural to feel skeptical about financial advisors, because many of them are salespeople that call themselves financial planners or financial advisors. First, you should figure out if you need a financial advisor or a financial counselor. A trusted financial advisor may have the ability to sell you financial products as well as give you financial counseling, but again, you must be a little more cautious with these types of professionals, because their commission may get in the way of your best interest.
Financial counselors or financial coaches typically do not offer financial products, and we concentrate more on helping you make wise financial decisions and helping you map out a financial plan that will set you up to become wealthy. A financial coach will help equip you to make the right decisions about which financial products to purchase so that you are educated when you do go to visit a stock broker or insurance agent. There are many fee-based financial planners, counselors, and/or coaches out there, but they are obviously not all the same. Here are a few qualities to look for when looking for the right financial professional to help you:
- Their personal convictions. Make sure you ask them why they got into this business. It will tell a lot about that person.
- Their training. They don’t need a complete, formal training, but they should be up on the latest financial information. Ask them what they read on a daily basis and what conferences they attend.
- Their personal financial situation. Obviously, you can’t get too personal, but if your big goal is to get out of debt and their still in debt, that’s probably a fair question to ask.
- Their personal skills. Do you get a good vibe from that person? Are they easy to talk to? Personal skills are extremely important, because you’re going to be sharing your life with this person. You need someone who’s a good conversationalist, not someone who just spouts off information to you.
Can they relate to you? Some of the best financial coaches and planners are able to relate to you because they used to be in the same situation. Dave Ramsey is a great financial coach because he went bankrupt and lost everything before the age of 30. He really knows how people feel when they are hurting financially because he was there, too.
Here at The Budget Author, we’re big advocates of educating yourself about personal finance, and that’s why we write this blog and have our seminars.