The process of choosing a financial planning company requires time and research—especially if you’ve never worked with a financial advisor before. Whether you’re seeking general financial planning advice, or you need specific guidance with a particular topic, such as divorce, widowhood, or retirement, you should know how to make sure that your prospective advisor is right for you.
If you don’t know where to start, financial advisors usually suggest assessing your current financial situation. By reviewing your budget, for example, complete with your income, savings, expenses, debt, and assets, you will be able to identify a few particular challenges that you need help mitigating. Then, you can begin your search by looking for qualified and experienced financial planning companies in your area that specialize in either your particular need or the aspect of your finances that you’re struggling with the most. Your search will end only after you have interviewed prospective candidates and you have chosen the company that perfectly matches your needs. To understand this process better, review the following 4 steps to choosing a financial planning company, ultimately allowing you to improve your financial security in the long run.
4 steps to finding the best financial planning company
1. Identify Your Needs
Before beginning your search, start by sitting down and taking stock of your current financial situation. Be sure to review your budget, paying careful attention to your income and expenses, as well as any debts, savings and assets. Review your finances for previous years, and look ahead to the future by setting some tangible short-term and long-term goals, like purchasing property, sending children to college, or paying off student loans. Ask yourself the question, “Why exactly do I need a financial planning company?” By completing this self-assessment, you should be able to identify a few specific reasons why you would benefit from working with a financial advisor; you can then use this information as brainstorming material for your first consultation with a company.
2. Research Prospective Advisors
Now that you know exactly what you need in regards to your finances, you can start searching for a financial planning company that specializes in your particular area. Since advisors have different expertise, ranging from wealth management and financial wellness to divorce and loss of spouse services, you should choose someone that works with your needs. As you search, pay specific attention to their location, reputation, and principles—since you’ll be working closely with an advisor, it’s important to find someone that you can trust.
3. Ask for Recommendations
While conducting research for qualified financial planning companies, speak with your human resources (HR) department at your employer to see if they have any recommendations—especially if you’re seeking advice on retirement plans. Then, reach out to any friends, family members, or colleagues that you know who have worked with a financial planning company before, as they might have some suggestions as well. If you don’t know who to ask, consider people who have struggled with financial issues at some point in their life because it’s possible that they had to rely on a financial advisor themselves.
4. Interview Qualified Candidates
After you’ve assessed your own needs, researched potential advisors, and asked for recommendations, it’s time to schedule appointments with representatives from financial planning companies near you. If possible, try to suggest meeting in person or at least by video call, so that you can connect with them and get a better understanding of their services and principles. Worst case scenario, call them on the phone or send along all of your questions in an email. Don’t be shy, either—make your circumstances, needs, and goals clear, so that they can provide you with an idea of how they can serve you.
Schedule Your First Consultation with a Financial Planning Company
Now that you understand the process of finding the right financial planning company for your needs, get in touch with an experienced financial advisor today.