How to choose a financial advisor – CBS News

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By Rachel Layne
/ CBS News
There are multiple benefits to hiring a financial adviser, regardless of where you are in your career.
You may want to tap into expert advice on taxes and investment options or maybe you’re seeking some budgeting tips to save up for your dream vacation. There’s really no limit to the knowledge a financial expert can offer.
To start, you’ll want to narrow down your specific financial goals. That way you’re less likely to pay for services you may not necessarily need. A financial adviser can better direct you toward what investments are worth pursuing and which are worth skipping, for example. You can easily start exploring your options by using the table below now.
Many professional associations have large directories. For example, the National Association for Personal Financial Advisors lists fee-only, fiduciary planners. The Financial Planning Association also offers a directory you can browse through.
You can also ask friends, relatives or people in your professional network for recommendations and then do some additional diligence. 
There are also several online resources available for those who want a quick reply. 
To ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck, check industry associations and their criteria. Many financial advisers, like a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), must pass exams or meet certain criteria to be admitted to their professional associations or groups. You can also vet them through various services, including The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) BrokerCheck.
There are seemingly endless titles linked to financial professionals with different areas of expertise. FINRA, a U.S. government-supervised nonprofit, offers a directory of professional designations that can help you decipher different titles – and their veracity. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also offers an investment glossary.
Here are a few common titles: 
Start exploring your investment options by using the table below now.
Before you officially start the process of hiring a financial adviser, you’ll want to carefully check their credentials to make sure they’re the right fit. The best way to start your research (other than doing an internet search) would be to check your potential adviser’s affiliated association and what credentials are required. 
You can also look through directories at:
Advisers that follow fiduciary standards – also known as a fiduciary duty – act in the client’s interest first, even if their own compensation suffers. Federal agencies in recent years strengthened rules for many financial professionals to include these standards, including broker-dealers.
Certified Financial Planners (CFPs), for instance, “must put the client’s interests ahead of their own,” said James Lee, president of Saratoga Springs, New York-based Lee Investment Management and president-elect of the FPA. Registered investment advisers also must “commit to a fiduciary standard under law,” Lee explains. 
To find a financial adviser that meets your needs and expectations, you’ll want to make sure you’re asking the right questions. When scheduling a meeting with a potential adviser, make sure you come prepared. Experts recommend having a solid list of questions, including:
The types of fees you’ll pay depends on the kind of advice – and adviser – you hire. 
Three typical payment structures are:
You can typically file a complaint with a regulatory body that oversees the kind of professional you used. The SEC or state regulators oversee financial advisers, while FINRA regulates brokers. You can also lodge a complaint with an adviser’s corresponding professional association. 
First published on June 9, 2022 / 4:46 PM
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