How to Find a Financial Advisor

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on March 15, 2024

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Where to Look to Find a Financial Advisor

A financial advisor typically provides investment advice and products such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds with the overall goal of helping clients manage their finances.

Finding the right financial advisor for your needs is essential to achieving your goals and creating a healthy financial outlook. Here are some simple tips on where to start looking for a financial advisor:

Online Advisor Search

You can search for financial advisors in your area and learn more about their specialties and experience using online resources. The basic information provided on this site, such as the website and client rating, can help you get started.

National Association of Personal Financial Advisors

An online database that offers access to over thousands of advisors is provided by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). These professionals abide by their strict education and ethical standards.

Referrals From Family, Friends, or Colleagues

Ask trusted friends and family members who have financial advisors. They can provide personal feedback on the service they receive and any advice to help you find the right advisor for you. This method can provide you with the most reliable information.

Search Engines

An excellent way to start looking is by using search engines. They can quickly provide a list of financial advisors that may suit your needs. Due to the number of advisors that may be listed, it is essential to know what type of financial advisor services you will need.

Questions to Ask When Selecting a Financial Advisor

One of the most crucial financial decisions you will make is selecting an advisor. It will need some effort on your part, but working with the proper financial advisor can help minimize your financial stress and provide you with confidence and security now and in the future.

Before you choose a financial advisor, you should consider the following questions to ask a financial advisor.

  • How do you go about financial planning?
  • Will you be the only advisor I will be speaking with?
  • Have you ever been disciplined for unethical actions?
  • What is your investment strategy?
  • What distinguishes your client experience?

By taking the time to research and knowing what questions to ask, you can choose a reputable and trustworthy financial advisor who provides quality service for your specific goals and is ideal for helping you navigate through your financial journey.

How to Choose a Financial Advisor

Consider the following when deciding on a financial advisor:

Find a Real Fiduciary

Find out if the financial advisor is a fiduciary before engaging with them to get the best protection and assurance for your financial interests.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) registered financial advisors must follow the requirements as fiduciaries.

Not all financial advisors are fiduciary, as some only adhere to suitability standards to be able to sell products.

Decide What Financial Services You Need

Identify the kind of help or guidance you would like to get from a financial advisor.

It is essential to consider whether there are any specific goals or objectives for your finances and, if so, which services would be beneficial for achieving them.

Select Which Type of Advisor You Want

A reliable financial advisor will ask questions and genuinely listen to your goals and lifestyle before suggesting any strategy or product.

You may also select based on their services, such as investment advice, debt management, cash flow planning, tax planning, estate planning, or retirement planning.

Check the Credentials

Checking credentials and records of disciplinary actions filed against them are necessary when assessing potential advisors.

You can go to the SEC's Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website, FINRA's BrokerCheck tool, or your state securities regulator's website to obtain the above information.

Also, consider the company the advisor works for and their experience in financial planning.

Consider How Much You Can Afford

The cost of a financial advisor varies considerably, depending on the services you need and the type of professional you engage.

Before hiring an adviser, you must understand their fees. A financial advisor typically charges Assets Under Management (AUM), hourly, flat, or commission-based fees. Consider if your budget can accommodate such fees.

Vet & Interview the Financial Advisors You Are Interested In

After researching and selecting a few advisors, discussing your financial goals and objectives with them in person or virtually is essential. During this meeting, ask the questions you typically have about the services they offer and their overall approach.

You should also feel comfortable asking the advisor how they are paid and any other personal questions you have. Moreover, ask for references from their current and former clients to check the advisor's track record.


Final Thoughts

Knowing where to start searching for a financial advisor is the first step in selecting the right financial advisor for your needs.

An easy and accessible way to find financial advisors is through online advisor search, the NAPFA database, referrals from family and friends, and a quick search engine browse.

Doing this can provide you with a list of a few potential advisors. Knowing what questions to ask, such as their experience and strategies, can help you pick the right one.

In choosing a financial advisor, consider someone who has fiduciary obligations, check their credentials and interview the ones you are interested in. Decide what services you need and how much your budget can accommodate to pay their fees.

How to Find a Financial Advisor FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.

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