NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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You and Your Financial Professional

You and Your Financial Professional

 

          No matter what your family situation, your income or your expenditures, you can benefit from having a financial plan. Some individuals need little help in developing and implementing a plan, but with the increasing complexity and number of financial products available to help in reaching financial goals, most families need some sort of professional advice.

          Often individuals and families make the mistake of not consulting a professional adviser and try to plan their financial destiny alone, based on their own research and on hearsay from others. They feel they are saving fees, but they may be losing many times what they save, incurring unnecessary costs from such mistakes as drafting an invalid will, investing in products that do not match their needs or buying unneeded or duplicate insurance coverage. If you have your basic finances under control and are looking for ways to reach further financial goals, a qualified financial planner can help with planning for higher education for children, with retirement planning and with overall estate planning.

          Just as finding a good doctor can take time, locating the right people to handle your financial affairs often requires effort.  One way to select the financial adviser that best meets your own needs is to ask relatives, friends or colleagues to recommend someone. On the other hand, don’t hire a professional just because he or she happens to be a friend or relative.

          Once you’ve narrowed your list down to two or three professionals who have clean records and who are backed by financially sound firms make an appointment to spend an hour with each and interview the person for the position you have to offer: your financial adviser. Ask each candidate for credentials and references. Pay attention to credentials, but also become aware of what is required to receive credentials. Ask how and how much the adviser will be compensated. Finally, once you’ve found a qualified adviser who meets your needs, keep informed and keep an eye on what is happening with your financial affairs. You have much more at stake in the process than anyone else.

          Here are some of the things you will want to find out whenyou meet with a financial professional:

• How many years of professional training have you had?

• What is your educational background?

• What is your area of expertise?

• How do you keep up with current trends in your field?

• What type of clients do you usually handle and what income bracket are they in?

• How long has your company been in business?

• What other financial professionals do you work with?

• What credentials do you have? Professional memberships?

• How are your fees determined and how will I be billed?

          One final question that is helpful is to ask “What would you like to know about me?” More than any other, this question will tell you whether this financial professional is a true pro. She or he ought to ask you appropriate questions about your risk tolerance, your investment goals and your knowledge about investing, how much you already have invested and what investments you currently own.

          For more info on what services a financial counselor, a debt counselor, a trust officer, a tax preparer or an accountant can offer you, follow the QR code below or check the NDSU Extension Service website at:

www.ag.ndsu.edu.

 

  Selecting a Financial Counselor

 

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