Finding a Financial Planner

Finding a financial planner you are comfortable with can be a long and tedious process. Because of this, it is a good idea to interview several. Bring along the following checklist so you know what questions to ask and have a detailed report on each planner.

Austin Price Check! Financial advisors prices vary quite a bit depending upon the services you seek. Some advisors are fee based, which means they collect commissions off the financial products you use, others are hourly and some have pre-determined planning packages. Be sure to inquire about the professional’s fees during the initial phone call or meeting.

Financial Planner’s Contact Information

Phone Number:


Which of the following areas do you have experience in?
■ Retirement Planning
■ Investment Planning
■ Tax Planning
■ Estate Planning
■ Insurance Planning
■ Integrated Planning
■ Other

What do you specialize in?

What are your qualifications in this particular field?

How long have you been offering financial advice and working with clients?

What are your educational qualifications?

Where did you go to school?

Do you hold any certifications and if so, from where? (A certification could be CFP, CPA, PFS, ChFC or other, in which case ask what it is)

Do you fulfill any financial planning continuing education requirements?

Do you hold any licenses? If so, which ones? (This could be licenses in Insurance, Securities, CPA, or JD)

Are you personally licensed or registered as an Investment Adviser with the state or federal government?

Current Practice Information

How many planners are in this office?

Do you work as an independent contractor or are you employed by the company?

Does this company have different levels of status (Junior Advisor, Senior Advisor, Managing Advisor, etc.)?

Where do you rank?

Is your firm registered as an Investment Advisor with the state or federal government?

Could you provide me with your disclosure document Form ADV Part 2 or equivalent?

Services Information

What services do you offer?

What is your approach to planning?

Will you be working with me directly?

How many people will review my finances?

Pricing Information

How are you compensated for your services?

What do you charge?

If you work on commission, what percentage of premium to receive on:

■ Stocks and bonds
■ Mutual Funds
■ Annuities
■ Insurance Product
■ Other

What is your business affiliation with the company whose products your recommend?

After asking all of the above questions to every financial advisor interviewed, decide on a financial advisor who you feel comfortable with, and one in which has the experience and expertise to manage your finances.

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