The Duties of a Financial Planner
Think you know all there is to know about financial planning? If so, you are like the majority of Americans. A CNBC Invest survey indicates only one percent of Americans uses a financial planner.
Financial planners — also known as financial advisors or investment advisors — help clients reach their financial objectives by creating financial plans. These plans take into account the clients’ expenses, income, necessary insurance coverage, tax status and risk tolerance, as well as personal goals, such as setting up a retirement account or buying a house.
There are many reasons people give for not hiring a financial planner. According to the CNBC Digital Financial Advisor Council, they range from having too much debt; to not having money to invest; to concerns about the cost of hiring a financial adviser.
What to Look for
There are, however, numerous reasons to use the services of a financial planner. These include figuring out how to balance multiple financial goals; manage a business; get out of crushing debt; or establish a retirement savings plan.
When choosing a planner, look for someone you will be comfortable enough with to discuss your goals and develop a long-term working relationship. Experts also recommend seeking an advisor who has experience managing funds during down times.
You also should look for a fee-only certified financial planner. Certified planners must pass a rigorous exam and adhere to a professional code of conduct. A fee-only advisor doesn’t earn a commission when they invest in certain funds or buy financial products.
Brokers are regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to buy and sell assets like stocks on behalf of their clients. All financial planners must follow the fiduciary rule, which means they operate in their clients’ best interest.
You can do a background check on potential planners by checking the FINRA; Securities and Exchange Commission; and Certified Financial Planner websites.
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