Financial & Estate Planning

If you’re searching for a trusted financial advisor, keep these pointers in mind:

* A good advisor finds the facts first. If someone’s advice is always to buy something, that’s a warning sign. Instead of tossing a sales pitch with the first ball, many advisors have prospective clients fill out a brief questionnaire about their financial and personal situation, before their first meeting.

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That saves time and allows the advisor to get to know you. Most people have many financial wants and needs but limited resources. A savvy financial advisor will help you prioritize your financial issues and tackle them individually, starting at the top of the list. If you want to buy a house, for example, your advisor might start there and spend less time on your investment portfolio.

* Do your own background check. You should ask questions of prospective advisors, too. Find out how long they’ve been giving advice. Maturity and experience can be very helpful, especially in the climate we’re now experiencing.

You should meet with more than one person before picking a financial advisor. Ask about each one’s background. A person who has worked in insurance, for example, might have a different perspective than someone who has been in accounting.

Make sure you’ll be dealing directly with the advisor rather than with an associate. Perhaps most important, you need to feel comfortable with the advisor’s personality if you’re going to have a successful long-term relationship.