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How to Select Your Financial Advisor

By Bennett Whitlock, CRPC®, Private Wealth Advisor

Whether you rely on your advisor to help with retirement planning, saving for college, or meeting other goals, this individual will help determine how you approach some of life’s biggest financial decisions. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Find someone who cares about your goals for the future. Your financial advisor should ask questions about your hopes, dreams and concerns. Find someone who not only discusses important
financial topics, but also listens and understands your needs. The individual should help you feel at ease and communicate clearly.

Select an advisor and a firm with a solid reputation. As you interview advisors, ask for references and specific examples that show how they helped clients like you reach their goals or weather difficult financial times. Also, check the advisor’s educational background and note any professional designations or industry accolades. Use industry databases like Finra.org for research. Consider what firm the advisor is affiliated with.

Understand how the advisor approaches financial planning. Steer clear from someone who offers a cookie-cutter approach to financial planning. Instead, look for an advisor who offers a disciplined, comprehensive and customizable approach.

You and your advisor should have compatible expectations about your relationship. Understand what his or her relationship with clients looks like. How often do they meet with clients like
you? What would they expect from you at each meeting? How accessible are they between meetings? Make sure that the person you select is willing to work with you the way you want to interact with an advisor.

You should have a clear understanding of what you’re paying for. Advisors should provide information and materials to help you evaluate the benefits, risks and costs of the investments and
services they offer. If anything is unclear, ask questions.

Financial advisors should know how to tap into the expertise of others. A smart advisor knows when it’s time to gather input from other experts. Find an advisor who is willing to use a team
approach to help you reach your goals.

Selecting an advisor and creating a financial plan does take some time and effort, especially if working with a financial professional is new to you. Once you take action to achieve your goals, however, you’ll likely discover how life’s challenges can be better managed with the security of having a financial plan.

Bennett Whitlock, CRPC ®, is a private wealth advisor and managing director with Whitlock Wealth Management, a franchise of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Learn more at WhitlockWealth.com or call 703-492-7732.

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