A Consumer’s Guide to Selecting a Wealth Advisor

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Finding the right professional to manage your finances is challenging. Financial professionals have many different titles, certifications and qualifications, but which type is right for you?

Brian’s first financial advisor was someone his parents used. He met Sharon (not her real name) at her office, and she walked him through the first steps of financial planning: his saving behavior (mostly just putting money into a 401(k)), his investment preference (aggressive), and any life plans (possibly buying a house in a few years). Brian, like many people, just assumed that his advisor was looking out for his best interests. And he happily went along with this plan for the next several years.

But something nagged at him. Sharon never reached out to him – he always had to schedule the meetings. Brian rationalized her lack of contact with the fact that she preferred to meet in-person but lived in a different state than him. But he started wondering, why didn’t she ever call him or send an email? When Sharon offered him two options for saving his money, he assumed that she had gone through an extensive list of choices and distilled them down to the two best suited for him. But surely there were more than just two options, right? And when she offered new services, of course Brian said “yes” – she wouldn’t offer something that wasn’t in his best interest.

Except, as time went on, Brian noticed that many of these new services only drained his account and offered little to no value to him.