Unless you’re deeply invested in the finance industry, it can be a bit daunting to figure out what’s what when figuring out where to start looking for a professional. The internet is a wonderful tool that offers an array of information about the industry at our fingertips, but the vast amount of information available can lead to more uncertainty rather than confidence about how to proceed with your finances. By looking at the following list, you’ll have not only what you need to know about the finance industry, but also a starting point to jump off of when looking for financial information that works for you and your family.
- Financial professionals aren’t necessarily financial planners: The letters that follow a professional’s name equate to their specific specializations and credentials. If you’re looking for a financial planner, keep an eye out for “CFP®” designation”—Certified Financial Planner—next to their name.
- Know what you’re looking for before interviewing advisors: This is standard advice no matter what business you’re looking into: if you want to work with someone who can best help you, you should know what you’re looking to do in the first place. This will narrow down the pool of people you’ll be interviewing and minimize the chances of hiring someone who won’t work best with you or your circumstances.
- No one can tell what the future holds: Life is unpredictable, and no one can confidently say they know what the market will look like tomorrow, let alone ten years down the road. If a financial professional claims to know as much, it’s wise to be wary of them. Speaking of large claims…
- No one can promise returns or guarantee they can beat the market: That’s a ludicrous promise. If a financial professional says this, turn heel and run.
- How a professional is compensated reveals conflicts of interest: Financial professionals are obligated to honestly tell you how they will be paid for their services, so don’t be afraid to ask this question. If they are paid by commission, then you know they’ll be paid based on what they sell, not the advice given to you. If they’re paid by fee-only, then you know your best interests will be put first.