So you’ve decided to hire a financial advisor – congratulations! You’re making a smart decision for your future. Finding a financial advisor who you trust to help you with your wealth management and retirement planning needs will help you:
- Make long-term, intentional financial decisions
- Start saving more and sooner
- Design the retirement lifestyle you want
- Provide discipline, perspective and calm
You have options when it comes to choosing a financial advisor. To handle something as precious as your retirement investment plan, your financial advisor needs to be a good fit with your family's values. Ideally, a financial advisor will work to align with your goals –– not their own kickbacks –– and be a bona fide expert in their field.
Here are four tips for choosing a financial planner.
1. Understand your Options for Financial Advisors
Start by understanding the different fee structures of financial advisors. This important distinction could have a big effect on your retirement planning strategies.
Fee-only financial advisors: Also known as fiduciary financial advisors, act under fiduciary responsibility. Fee-only advisors are legally required to act in your best interest, and they collect only a fee in exchange for their advisory services.
Commission-based advisors: Earn their income based on the products they sell. Broker-dealers or agents working in large brokerage and investment firms often work under this structure.
Fee-based financial advisors: Collect both fees and commissions depending on the products they sell.
Fiduciary financial advisors don’t earn a commission based on product sales, which minimizes conflicts of interest and allows you to receive more objective advice. Compensation structures that include commissions, on the other hand, encourage behavior that may not always be in your best interest.
If you’ve decided to go with a fiduciary for your retirement planning, you might be wondering how to find a fiduciary financial advisor. For starters, make sure to look for the right credentials:
- The initials “CFP®” (Certified Financial Planner) indicate the advisor has successfully achieved the industry’s gold standard
- Other professional designations to look for: Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA® ), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®), and Chartered Life Underwriter CLU®
2. Learn from Others’ Experience
Some of our clients had to learn that not all wealth advisors are created equally, the hard way. Learn from their lessons and reflections.
Tanya and John
Financial anxiety and tensions in their marriage led Tanya and John to seek out a financial advisor. Tanya felt like her previous wealth advisor didn't take time to get to know their values and needs. Tanya and John both wanted a professional they could have meaningful conversations with, and someone who they knew kept their best interest in mind.
They needed a professional to understand their current situation and devise a plan to protect their financial future.
Mark and Tracy
Mark and Tracy were raised not to talk about money, and as a result, they lacked financial education. This, combined with bad advice from the past, made retirement planning a delicate task. Finding a fiduciary financial advisor forced Mark and Tracy to face retirement planning head-on, even when they wanted to ignore it.
The lesson for these couples was that instead of feeling overwhelmed or paralyzed, a fiduciary financial advisor allowed them to feel supported in retirement investment planning. Mark and Tracy are now happily retired and living comfortably in Portugal.
3. Know Your Values
Some retirees want to take expensive cruises and explore gastronomy. Others prefer to hike and have their meals by the campfire. Are you one of these, or something in between? Before going into retirement planning talks with potential fiduciary financial advisors, take a moment to reflect on your own values and vision for retirement.
Think about your circumstances
- What stage of life are you in?
- Do you have aging parents or kids in college?
Think about your goals
- What kind of retirement do you want?
- How much do you need to live comfortably?
A fee-only financial advisor (fiduciary) will help you refine your goals and get clear on your ideal retirement before making any big moves with your plan. The more clarity you can get on the subject, the more your advisor can fine-tune your plan to fit your desires, preferences and objectives for your retirement.
4. Find a Fiduciary Financial Advisor in Denver
When it comes to finding a financial advisor to help with retirement planning, many of our clients decide to go with someone local. Like Tanya and John, they want to sit down face-to-face and have a candid conversation about money. They want to build rapport and, more importantly, trust.
If you plan to retire in Denver, why not work with someone who knows Denver. Tax laws and retirement benefits vary from state to state. We make sure clients are aware of financial considerations for retiring in Denver, as well as how to make the most of your retirement years in the area.