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A Professional Planner Can Be a Big Help

By CRAIG CAMPBELL

For Money Matters

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Sometimes it is the birth of child, the death of a parent, a marriage or divorce, or even a promotion at work and the significant raise that comes with it, but whatever the specific reason, hiring a certified and licensed professional financial planner to handle your investments is an important task for any individual or               family.

Lee & Associates in St. Clairsville offers this approach for folks who are novices to investing: “The first step is to figure out a realistic financial goal for yourself and your family. Talk with your loved ones to ensure that everyone has the same goals in mind. Clearly not all families will have the same end goal — figure out what is important to you, whether it is early retirement, financial comfort, children’s education, travel, taking care of elders, or your children.”

The Financial Planning Association says hiring a professional financial planner will allow a potential investor to “set realistic financial and personal goals; assess your current financial health by examining your assets, liabilities, income, insurance, taxes, investments and estate plan; and develop a realistic, comprehensive plan to meet your financial goals by identifying financial opportunities and building on financial strengths.”

FPA recommends that when looking for a financial planner, a potential client should interview at least three certified and licensed professionals to find the one that best serves your individual needs.

CNNMoney suggests proposing these eight questions to any potential financial planner:

1. What do you charge and what method do you use to get paid?

2. What are your credentials?

3. How much experience do you have?

4. What planning services do you provide and how often do you see your clients?

5. Does your planning include specific recommendations for investments or other products?

6. What are you selling and who’s paying your commissions?

7. Can I get references from other clients?

8. Do you have any questions for me?”

Typically, there are three ways a financial planner gets paid. First, is the fee-only planners, who are compensated for the advice they provide.

Second, fee-based planners are paid from a combination of their advice and commissions from the products        they sell.

Finally, commission-based planners generate their income exclusively from commissions on the products they sell.

Knowing how a financial planner is paid allows the client to have a healthy skepticism of the recommendations the planner is making.

There are many options for a potential investor today, including a do-it-yourself approach, but a certified and licensed professional financial planner can offer expertise to help guide the client to meet the goals they have set for investing their money.

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