How to Select the Right Financial Organizer

There's retirement to prepare for and college tuition for the kids. If all this sounds familiar, it may be time for you to start going shopping around for a financial coordinator.

Certain specialists, such as stock brokers or tax preparers, are there to help you deal with specific elements of your financial life. That's where financial planners come in.

Prior to you begin shopping for an organizer, one word of caution: Unlike brain hairdressers, cosmetic surgeons, and plumbing technicians, a financial organizer doesn't need to crack a book, take an examination or otherwise show proficiency prior to hanging out a shingle. Simply puts, anyone can declare the title - and thousands of improperly trained people do. That indicates finding the right planner for you and your household will take more work than looking into the very best brand-new flat-screen TELEVISION. And so it should. It's your financial future that's at stake.

Here's how to begin:

The old-boy network

One simple way to begin searching for a financial organizer is to ask for recommendations. Ask him for the names of organizers whose work he's seen and admired if you have an accounting professional or a lawyer you trust. Professionals like that are in the very best position to evaluate a planner's abilities.

A qualified financial organizer (CFP) or a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) must pass a rigorous set of examinations and have specific experience in the financial services field. This alphabet soup is no assurance of quality, however the initials do reveal that an organizer is serious about his or her work.

You get what you pay for

Numerous financial coordinators make some or all of their loan in commissions by selling investments and insurance coverage, but this system sets up an immediate dispute between the planners' interests and your own. You also ought to be wary of fee-based planners, who earn Finity Group commissions and who also get charges for their recommendations.

That leaves fee-only financial coordinators. They do not offer financial products, such as insurance or stocks, so their guidance is not likely to be prejudiced or affected by their desire to make a commission. They charge just for their recommendations. Fee-only coordinators may charge a flat fee, a percentage of your financial investments - generally 1 percent - under their management or per hour rates starting at about $120 an hour. Still, you can typically expect to pay $1,500 to $5,000 in the very first year, when you will get a written financial plan, plus $750 to $2,500 for continuous suggestions in subsequent years.

Where to get aid

If people you trust can't advise coordinators in your area, or if you want to expand the field from which you select, you can get lists of local planners from the following trade organizations. Check out each group's site.


If all this sounds familiar, it might be time for you to start shopping around for a financial coordinator.

Before you start shopping for a planner, one word of caution: Unlike brain plumbings, hair stylists, and cosmetic surgeons, a financial planner does not have to break a book, take a test or otherwise show proficiency prior to hanging out a shingle. One simple way to start looking for a financial coordinator is to ask for suggestions. A licensed financial planner (CFP) or a Personal Financial Professional (PFS) should pass a strenuous set of examinations and have certain experience in the financial services field. Numerous financial planners make some or all of their cash in commissions by offering investments and insurance, however this system sets up an immediate dispute between the organizers' interests and your own.

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