New Year’s Resolution: Find the Right Financial Advisor


by Igor Tiguy, CFP®, AIF®, MSPFP, Director, Planning Services

Was health and fitness at the top of your 2015 resolutions list? It’s a perennial #1 for most, and gyms are so full in January that it is almost impossible to find a free treadmill.   By February, the crowds at the gym begin to subside, and by March only the regulars can be spotted.   Very few can stick with this resolution without the proper plan and motivation.   What can significantly increase the chances of sticking with this resolution? Working with a personal trainer – one who can keep you accountable and motivated, one who helps you develop a workout plan and a personalized routine, one that knows how to design an efficient workout using proper technique, and one who has fresh ideas and perspectives that keep things interesting.

Another popular resolution has to do with improving financial health and fitness. While the good intention is there, many are not able to find time to work on their financial fitness, or don’t feel like they have the proper knowledge to make appropriate financial improvements. In most cases, this resolution ends up being put on the back burner.   So how do you succeed and get financially fit in 2015? A financial advisor, akin to a fitness personal trainer, can help organize your finances, outline a personal financial plan, remove inefficiencies, design a portfolio reflecting your goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance, keep you accountable (spending habits) and motivated (savings goals).

If you’ve decided to work with an advisor – good choice! You’re on the right path, but make sure that you do your research.

  • Make certain that the advisor has a recognized financial planning or investment certification (CFP®, CFA, etc.) and that they’re bound by a fiduciary standard, which will ensure that they will put your best interests first.   Most advisors working with clients today are based at broker-dealers and are bound by a Suitability Standard, which is not nearly as good at protecting the client’s interests. On the other hand,independent Registered Investment Advisors are bound by the Fiduciary duty.
  • Choose a fee-only or fee-based advisor, as this compensation structure aligns interests between client and advisor.   You may also consider advisors charging a flat fee, or an hourly fee, for their services.   Stay away from advisors whose compensation structure is mostly based on commissions.
  • Work with an independent Registered Investment Advisor, instead of one tied to a national broker-dealer.

So where can you find a quality financial advisor?

  • The Certified Financial Planner (CFP ®) mark is the most recognized designation in personal financial planning. The CFP Board has created a Certified Financial Planner Search, which has a listing of CFP ® holders in your area.
  • The Financial Planning Association (FPA) is the principal professional organization for financial planners. FPA also has a robust Planner Search.

Here’s to a Healthy, Successful, and Financially Fit 2015!

Recommended Posts