How long has it been since you looked at your investment accounts? If you’re like most people, it’s been too long.
Recent swings in the market make it a good time to sit down with a financial advisor to see how your accounts are performing. Whether you are just starting a career, in mid-career, or approaching retirement, a trusted financial advisor can provide the personalized advice and guidance needed to make the most of your investments. A personal financial advisor can help evaluate your individual situation and make recommendations to better meet your financial goals and retirement needs. In addition, an advisor can suggest options to minimize current and future tax liabilities.
While finding someone with appropriate credentials and certifications is the first step, the process doesn’t stop there. It’s important to find someone you trust—someone who makes you feel comfortable with your money.
Your Financial Advisor Should…
- Take time to understand you and your goals. Someone who is highly qualified in their field is valuable when he or she shows an interest in you and spends time getting to know you, your dreams, and your financial objectives.
- Recommend investment options that fit your needs. There is no “one size fits all” financial plan or investment portfolio. A good advisor will provide a variety of options to meet your financial goals.
- Help you make decisions about allocating your investment funds. An advisor can help you build a diversified portfolio that addresses short-term and long-term needs.
- Provide information on current market conditions and how they will affect you. Listening to the nightly news and tracking stock prices offers information, but a financial advisor can help you understand how what’s happening will impact your investments. He or she can also review your account to see if changes are needed to protect your funds.
- Present information in a timely, professional manner. Because time is money, a good financial advisor will respond quickly when market conditions, lifestyle changes, or other situations require a shift in your portfolio.
- Help you learn while helping your funds grow. The best financial advisor will help you increase your understanding of investment options, market changes, and other factors that impact your financial future so you can make more informed choices.
- Speak your language. Be wary of financial advisors who spend too much time impressing you with their technical jargon. Instead, find someone who uses terminology that makes sense to you and who explains things adequately.
- Make you part of the team. Financial advisors are there to advise, not to control your choices. They should actively include you in making final choices.
Choosing a personal financial advisor is almost as important as choosing the best investment options. You may want to ask friends or family members for recommendations, but only you can decide if that person is best for you. It may take a little time and effort to find the right person, but it will be time well spent.
Sue Lynn Sasser, PhD, is an associate professor of economics at the University of Central Oklahoma. In addition, Dr. Sasser serves as executive director of the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education and director of the UCO Center for Economic Education. She is past president of the Oklahoma JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. She lives in Edmond, with her dog Lily.