(StatePoint) When looking for a financial planner who can bring all the pieces of your financial life together and put you in the driver’s seat of your own financial future, experts say it’s important to look beyond his or her resume.
While a financial planner’s background and experience are important, so are some of the intangibles. Here are seven traits you should look for when choosing a financial planner:
• Competence. A financial planner should be able to demonstrate an appropriate level of experience. In order to obtain Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification, professionals must have a minimum of two years professional experience related to financial planning, in addition to meeting rigorous education requirements.
• Objectivity. Your needs should be at the heart of all your financial planner’s recommendations. He or she should use experience and judgment to carefully consider your personal and financial situation, and then provide advice that best meets your individual goals. CFP professionals are always required to act in your best interests when providing financial planning services.
• Integrity. Trust is central to a successful financial planning relationship. When you know your planner takes his or her duties seriously and places principles over personal gain, you can form a good working partnership. The strict practice standards and code of ethics of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) are designed to ensure CFP professionals act in a professionally responsible manner.
• Fair Treatment. A good financial planner clearly defines the services he or she will provide and will communicate the costs and risks associated with each financial recommendation. A good financial planner will also disclose potential conflicts of interest. CFP professionals are required to make full disclosure of conflicts and compensation methods to their clients.
• Diligence. A diligent financial planner will reasonably examine recommended products or services to ensure they are suitable for you, and will closely supervise any staff or related professionals working with you.
• Professionalism. Trustworthy financial planners will not provide investment advice or stock brokerage services unless qualified and licensed to do so, as required by state or federal law. If your situation requires expertise that your planner does not possess, he or she should suggest other professionals who could assist you.
• Privacy. To get the best results from your financial planning relationship, you’ll need to regularly divulge relevant personal and financial information to your financial planner, who will keep this information in confidence, only sharing it to conduct business on your behalf, at your consent or when ordered to do so by a court.
To find a CFP professional near you, visit letsmakeaplan.org.
Partnering with a financial planner will provide you with confidence today and a more secure tomorrow. Be sure you work with a trustworthy, competent professional.
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