Choosing a Financial Advisor: What to Know Before You Invest

Choosing a financial advisor may be one of the most important financial decisions that you will ever make. The person you decide to work with will be in a position to influence critical investment and planning decisions, and the quality of his or her advice could heavily influence your long-term financial success.

Whether you are preparing for retirement, planning an estate, selling a business or handling a wide range of complex financial matters, having the right financial advisor relationships in place is vital. Here are some areas you may want to consider before selecting a financial professional.

Type of Advisor and Experience Required

The financial services field is broad and there are a number of different types of advisors who offer a range of qualifications, experience, and services. Determine what your primary needs are and look for advisors with experience in those areas, such as:

  • establishing a nest egg
  • planning your retirement
  • buying a house
  • life insurance policies

While most advisors can assist you in developing general long-term financial strategies, many advisors specialize in niches like:

  • total wealth management
  • services for business owners
  • financial advice for women
  • federal employee retirement

If you need specific experience, make sure you seek out advisors who qualify.

Qualifications and Experience

Check the qualifications and experience level of any prospective advisor before investing with them. While certifications and professional designations are not everything, advisors with legitimate designations have demonstrated a desire to go the extra mile in their professional training. Most of these designations require candidates to demonstrate competence in a range of topics and meet high ethical and professional standards.

You can also check an advisor’s credentials and complaint history using FINRA’s BrokerCheck or the SEC’s Investment Advisor Search.

Know Your Options

It’s important to be clear about what you want when choosing a financial advisor. Setting up multiple interviews allows you to compare advisors and select the one that best fits your needs. You want someone who meets your needs as well as meshes with your personality.

Use a process of elimination and cross each advisor off your list as you identify your likes and dislikes. Focus on objective criteria such as years of experience, qualifications, as well as subjective ones such as personality match. 

Advisor Alphabet Soup

Many advisors increase their experience through professional designations. While this list isn’t exhaustive, here are some of the common acronyms you may see after an advisor’s name.

  • CFP®: CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS TM must demonstrate competence in a range of financial planning topics, and are held to high ethical and professional standards.
  • ChFC: Chartered Financial Consultants study a variety of financial planning topics and must have a minimum of three years of experience.
  • CLU: Chartered Life Underwriters are trained in a wide range of insurance specialties.
  • CPA: Certified Public Accountants have passed rigorous exams on accounting and tax preparation.

We take great pride in what we do at Medallion. We understand that finances can be complex and often intimidating and that many of you are just looking for some guidance from someone you can trust. Click below to schedule a free consultation with us to get you started!

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At Medallion Financial Group, we believe financial planning is about Family. We have been helping families invest in the future since 1987 through a holistic planning approach. We recognize there are a variety of needs when it comes to retirement planning, plan rollovers, annuities, college planning, life insurance options, and investment management. It is easy to get lost in a sea of choices. Our financial advisors help with the basics and beyond to enable our clients to get the education, advice and management they need to retire with confidence.

Our focus is twofold: first and foremost, we are fiduciary advisors. We stand against any violation of laws, values, and ethics. Second, we treat our clients as part of our family, not only those who call Maryland and Georgia home, but clients across the US who have benefited from our reputation of personal service, integrity, and expertise.

We strive to exceed client’s expectations – because we have high expectations of ourselves.