A successful retirement is the end result of years of proper preparation and execution, which is why it takes careful planning to ensure that you get on the right track and stay there. Some people have the ability and time to tackle it on their own, but most people can greatly benefit from working with a financial advisor.
The common hesitation keeping people from beginning that relationship with an advisor is figuring out who to work with. It can be a challenge picking the right advisor because of the various designations, the different types of specialties, and worry that a person might just be trying to sell you a product.
But don’t let that prevent you from taking that all-important step toward financial security.
No matter how much or how little you know about financial planning, there are things you can look for in order to help you determine the right fit.
The first thing to understand is that you are in the position to interview advisors and ask questions just as much as they might do with you. If there’s ever anything you are unsure about or curious to learn, ask the advisor. You should continue that conversation as long as necessary so that you feel like you have all the information you need.
So what questions should you be asking? Start with their financial philosophy. Advisors have different approaches to planning and you want to make sure you understand what the strategy is and that you’re comfortable with what you hear. A good advisor will ask you enough questions to determine an approach that fits your goals and that should be reflected in what they discuss with you.
From there, you need to get a better idea of an advisor’s specialty. A common misbelief is that most advisors are the same, but that’s not the case. You might have one advisor that works with retirees while another might work primarily with federal employees. They also might specialize in certain types of investments or work with a wide variety of financial tools. So identify the specialty and then determine whether it makes sense for you.
The other thing to keep in mind is that you aren’t stuck with a financial advisor once you find one to work with. If you feel like your needs aren’t being met or have any doubts about your plan, it’s okay to get a second opinion. Most advisors are happy to meet with you, review your plan, and provide you feedback without any expectations from you.
Use this as a good starting point in your hunt for the right financial advisor, but don’t wait around. Your future requires attention now and the sooner you get started, the better chance you’ll have at a successful retirement.