You know the feeling. You don’t look forward to talking to him like you used to. When you see him, he smiles and nods, but you sense that he’s not really listening. And more and more regularly – often late at night, when you are trying to sleep – that voice in the back of your head tells you that he’s not good enough; he doesn’t know what is really important to you.
Yes – you have been together a long time.
Yes – it was great in the beginning.
But things have changed.
You wonder whether he will be there for you when you need him the most, when big family issues, health scares, career challenges and life in general become even more bumpy and uncertain if you’re already second guessing your relationship?
You know you deserve more. You know you want more. You know it is time to change.
How do you find the right financial advisor for you?
Following are three steps that I offer you from my own experience both as an investor and as a Certified Financial PlannerTM and Private Wealth Advisor to clients who have chosen to leave advisors that they have worked with for years because they knew in their heads, hearts, and wallets that they needed something more.
Step 1: Date
When I first began dating and found the experience frustrating, my mother patiently said to me: “Relax, Caroline – there’s a lid for every pot. And if you don’t find yours, you can still cook up a satisfying life for yourself as an independent woman!”
Mom is right – and her sage insights are relevant both to dating and money management. You see the financial services industry is so expansive that there are multiple solutions available for every need.
Your challenge is to know what you need financially and identify the right solution for you.
If what you’re seeking is someone who:
- cares only about what is important to you financially, and not about selling you products or services that are “good enough” for you right now
- has completed extra training and meets experience requirements for knowing how to ask you questions around your financial goals and translate your answers into a plan
- maintains the highest ethical standards when providing you:
- saving and spending strategies to help you achieve your goals
- investment advice
- guidance on insurance selection and ongoing relevance
- debt payment techniques
- coordinated oversight of your finances with people you designate, like select family members, your accountant, and your attorney as part of your trust and estate plans
…then what you need may be a Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®).
Step 2: Go steady
My Mom, a high school teacher, always encouraged to me to “do my homework” on any potential partner. “It’s one thing to enjoy some fun experiences together, it’s an entirely different thing to commit to each other, and only each other.”
While being a CFP® immediately elevates a financial services professional to the gold standard level for providing you advice, other factors are important to research and consider before choosing this person to work with you:
- Understand the CFP®’s experience and specializations
- Learn whether the advisor works independently or as part of a larger team
- Confirm the services available and which ones are relevant for you
- Clarify whether the services are one-time or ongoing
- Verify how much the services will cost you and both when and how you will pay for them
- If investment management is part of the services you will receive, understand
- Whether a custodian is used and, if so, which one
- What custodial fees you may need to pay
- Whether the advisor and custodian have the experience and infrastructure to accommodate and/or adjust your existing investments
- Ask for at least 3 client references and speak with each person
- Before reaching out, verify how the advisor came to work with the clients
- Ask the references to confirm how the relationship came about, how it’s been for them, and both if and why they’d refer the CFP®
Step 3: Commit
When you decide to be part of an exclusive relationship, you need to let some people know you’re starting a new chapter. When I knew that relationships in my life needed to change and I struggled with initiating the changes, Mom was there, offering advice. As a Latin teacher, she would patiently remind me: “Caroline – you need to do what’s best for you. Have the courage to do it. Carpe Diem!”
Give yourself permission to acknowledge that whomever you have let into your financial life to date has served a purpose. If you’ve followed these steps that I’ve outlined, take comfort and confidence in the fact that you know what you need and you have found the right partner. You have identified a CFP® who gets you and has the experience and personality to provide you relevant financial perspective as you navigate life’s inevitable uncertainties going forward.
A CFP® who deserves your business will guide you through the specific steps necessary for you to transition to her care. Your departure from your current advisor and firm to your new CFP® will look different from other people, depending on the terms of your agreement with your existing advisor. It may be as simple as you signing a couple of forms with your new CFP®.
The point here is that once you’ve made the decision to be true to yourself and your needs, own it and move forward. Commit to your financial future and sleep more peacefully at night.
Caroline Wetzel is one of Natural Nutmeg’s 10Best Winners for Business/Life Coach. Caroline is a Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®) and Vice President, Private Wealth Advisor with Procyon Private Wealth Partners, LLC. Procyon Private Wealth Partners, LLC and Procyon Institutional Partners, LLC (collectively “Procyon Partners”) are registered investment advisors with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). This article is provided for informational purposes only and for the intended recipient[s] only. This article may also include opinions and forward-looking statements which may not come to pass. Information is at a point in time and subject to change. Procyon Partners does not provide tax or legal advice.