You go to a doctor when your health weakens? But who do you go to for Financial Planning when your wealth starts weakening? Your answer- A Financial Planner. Hiring a Financial Planner is detrimental for your financial health. Just like a doctor is for your physical or mental health. In these challenging times, with the Indian economy struggling beyond measure, Personal Financial Planning can go a long way.
Now, imagine your doctor prescribing some medicine only to gain an incentive offered by its manufacturer. You know what, the consequences could be fatal. But what if your financial planner is practically doing the same?
That’s why experts will always tell you that your financial adviser must be familiar with your financial profile. It allows them to choose the best possible plan for you. But can you trust their judgment if you pay them to sell financial products (like some doctors)? Of course, endorsing a policy or a fund is not that big of a red flag. And there’s a sizable section of investors who may want product recommendations.
Financial planners advise corporate executives or start-up entrepreneurs on how best to save, invest, and grow their money. They can easily help you tackle some specific financial goals, such as buying a house, or give you a macro view of your money and your various assets. Some even specialize in estate planning or retirement, while others consult on a multitude of financial matters.
Our professional financial planners can handle your money planning for you and help you navigate your finances, keeping your circumstances and life goals in mind.
But choosing the right ‘Financial Planning Advisor’ is not as simple as it sounds. First of all, you would want to be sure that you need a financial planner. If you have just started working, you may need a little guidance to start on a savings path. But if you’re in the middle of your career and have tangible long-term goals, you should take a holistic look at your income, assets, and liabilities.
Moreover, the market is always flooded with many different kinds of advisors, for instance, financial planners, independent financial advisors, brokers, agents, and the sort. Your choice will largely depend on the type of services you seek from the planner and the money you want to shell out.
Make Smart Decisions While Choosing Your Financial Planner
Always hire a financial adviser who is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). They are licensed and regulated, and they indulge in mandatory classes on different aspects of financial planning.
Anyone can hang out as a financial planner, but that doesn’t make that person an expert. They may put a whole bunch of letters after their names. But CFP (short for a Certified Financial Planner) is always the most significant credential.
Furthermore, regulations are more like guidelines now, and it might take some time before strict measures are implemented. Therefore, it’s best to look out for the red flags.
Here are some red flags that you should avoid while choosing a Financial Planner:
Credibility and qualification
Certifications from IRDA and AMFI are essentially a license to sell a specific financial product. A certified financial planner is a qualified adviser. It is essential to distinguish the two. It will be better if you pay for a good advice than opt for a free and biased one. You can ask for references and check with existing clients to authenticate their advisory status.
Business model & size
What is the source of the planner’s income? Is financial planning his/her full-time profession or just a part-time source of income? If they suggest a product, you have the right to ask if they get a commission on the sale. Be wary if the financial planner gets cagey about disclosing details.
- Planning, not selling
Try scrutinizing if the professional’s advice is a sales pitch or a financial plan. An adviser recommending a product without asking about your financial goals is a significant warning signal. Pushing a product without telling you why it suits you better than other similar products is another sign.
- Portfolio management
Your planner should re-evaluate your financial plan periodically. Even though it’s essentially long-term planning, still a frequent churn of a portfolio, especially long-term investments such as insurance and mutual funds, is a definite warning.
How to choose the right Financial Planner who suits your needs?
A financial planner will have access to all your financial information. If not direct access, or perhaps control your financial accounts. With such a deep relationship, you should certainly indulge in some research to choose some top financial planners and then interview some of them to pick your favorite.
Here are some points that can help:
- What’s their investment style?
Great financial planners possess a sense of your risk tolerance and investment goals. They build a portfolio to suit your needs, but that portfolio, which may look ideal to you, will look different to different planners.
Some people prefer a passive, buy, and hold approach. Others like an active investment style. Choose a financial planner who matches your style, and never change your style to fit your planner.
- Are there any conflicts of interest?
Some financial planners get kickback commissions when they funnel your funds into specific mutual funds or sell specific products. It is a conflict of interest. Under any circumstances, you should never pick a financial planner where this particular conflict exists. Look for a financial planner who is a fiduciary, meaning they must act solely in your best interest.
- Do they work with clients like you?
If you stumble upon a financial planner specializing in financing Baby Boomers, millennials might not think that a specific planner is a good fit. It doesn’t mean they’re bad at their job; they just might not be the perfect fit for you. Make sure whoever you hire is experienced in helping people in your situation and handling similar challenges and goals.
- How have they performed in the past?
Past performances do not guarantee future results. But it’s a good indicator of what to expect. If an adviser’s clients are consistently underperforming against market benchmarks, they may not be worth the cost. You can take a look at BOX Personal Financial Advisors (PFAs) Case Studies and Client Portfolios to see how great a choice we would be.
- How do they communicate?
If you like emails or SMSs, don’t hire a financial planner who only likes to talk by phone. And if you love discussing over the phone, you might not want someone who prefers to send everything digitally.
Again, there is no right or wrong. It is about what you prefer and finds the right match. Choosing a financial planner is kind of like meeting someone new. You may have to sift through many fish before finding someone who is a good fit.
After interviewing, you should know enough to make a long-term decision. But whatever you do, don’t rush. Never pick a financial planner unless you’re sure they are the right person for you.
BOX Personal Financial Advisors can help you fulfill all your Financial Needs and Aspirations
Investments, insurances, taxes, accounting, or lawyers – at BOX Personal Financial Advisors, we do everything. As private CFOs to our clients and their families, we can remove the hassle of coordinating with multiple service providers and provide you a one-stop solution.
We believe that individual households need only simple and useful tools to attain their goals. Some families call us their private CFOs, while others consider us as their coaches! If you’re in dire straits regarding your financial situation, call us right now at (+91) 120 – 4541582 or (+91) 9810328797.