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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tips for choosing a financial planner

Financial planners are professionals who's primary function is to help a client expand, and make the most of their financial assets. The best financial planners will support a client's possible objectives of fiscal empowerment, financial freedom, and optimized money management. A client should leave a financial planner feeling satisfied the service they have received will put them in a better financial situation.

Financial planners who don't put their client's needs and financial goals ahead of their own corporate objectives are more like a competing business that offers financial planning services to its competitors. Since financial planners charge a fee and/or commission for their services there should be no complication regarding this matter because these fees and commissions, if reasonable, should be all a financial planner needs in exchange for services rendered. A few important functions financial planners should be capable of, are the following:

• Growing money
• Facilitating financial needs
• Managing monetary goals
• Advising on financial issues
• Knowledge of, and Promotion of investment products and services

In addition to the above services, things to look for in a financial planner also include the following important traits, characteristics and qualifications.


While a license is not required to be a financial planner, Certified Financial Planners (CFP's) are specifically trained for the purpose of financial planning. Certified Financial Planner's certification includes at least 3 years of experience in financial planning, ethics review, and rigorous examination.
Not all certified financial planners are guaranteed to be able as some non-certified financial planners. Nevertheless, in case of doubt, certification does increase a client's chances of receiving the best possible service. Depending on one's specific needs, other certified and/or licensed financial professionals may be more suitable.


Organizations such as the Financial Planning Association and the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants may offer assistance in finding reputable financial planners. What's more, since money is sometimes a sensitive issue for individuals, a professional financial planner is desirable for several reasons.

First, people's money is not something to be taken lightly and a financial planner should be able to treat client's money with integrity, respect and with all the intentions of the client in mind. Second, if a financial planner does not take his or her function seriously, they may not take the money they help manage seriously either. While this is somewhat a matter of trust, professionalism inspires trust..

Financial institution

The company or organization a financial planner works for may having bearing on the quality of service offered in addition to complimentary services and products. Both large and small financial planners may offer unique advantages. For example, a large well financed company that provides financial planning services may also have its own investment products available, proven track record and established performance. However, smaller financial planners may be able to offer more personalized service that may include a more tailored financial plan.

Financial packages

A financial planner may or may not be able to provide special incentives for using affiliated financial products and services. If a financial planner or service does not offer sponsored products, they should still be equipped and knowledgeable about where to find the best, and most suitable investment and financial instruments to help meet a clients needs and expectations.

Among the services and products a financial planner should be able to advise upon are investing, budgeting, retirement planning, net worth optimization, and end of life asset management. In addition to these services, a financial planner may also be knowledgeable about certain business financing concerns and bureaucratic financial procedures.

Experience and knowledge

Financial planning services can be of assistance to both fiscally experienced and savvy clients and inexperienced clients alike. The reason for this is managing money and assets is the profession of a financial planner.

Consequently, they may know of technicalities and monetary plans even well aware clients may not have knowledge about. In other words, even if the need is small, financial planners may offer important guidance in fine tuning and/or adjusting individual, and in some cases, business financial goals.

Terms of service

The terms of service and fine print are important and become more important with higher amounts of money being planned. The fine print in a financial planning agreement can include information on fees, commissions, liability disclaimers, asset protection clauses or lack thereof, privacy disclosures and any other legal or technical issue that may arise in the future. Taking the time to read the fine print and understand what it means could mean the difference between losing one's assets and keeping them however unlikely that scenario is.

Financial planners should ideally meet some, if not all of the aforementioned requirements. When considering the above mentioned items, choosing or deciding to utilize the services of a financial planner and/or financial planning corporation can be made easier. While not all financial planners offer standardized services and products, a financial planner that meets the criteria contained herein may be better positioned to provide a more complete and beneficial financial planning service.