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Pursuit of a Financial Advisor Field Guide

Pursuit of a Financial Advisor Field Guide

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Published by NAPFA
The Pursuit of a Financial Advisor Field Guide was developed by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) to help consumers understand the prudent process for identifying qualified, independent financial advice. Access more tools at www.NAPFA.org/consumer.
The Pursuit of a Financial Advisor Field Guide was developed by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) to help consumers understand the prudent process for identifying qualified, independent financial advice. Access more tools at www.NAPFA.org/consumer.

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Published by: NAPFA on Feb 11, 2011
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02/14/2013

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Pursuit of aFinancial Advisor
Field Guide
 
 Where do I go?
Where do I look?
What do I ask?...read on to
find out
.
If you would like to access any additionalinformation on finding a financial planner, or toolsto help you make sense of your personal financialsituation, please be sure to visit www.NAPFA.org/ Consumer.
Good Luck!THE PURSUIT BEGINS
Finding qualified, independentfinancial advice should not bedifficult. But it is for manyhard-working Americans.With so many people claimingto be financial planners,financial advisors, financialcounselors, wealth managers,how do you know whenyou’ve found someone whocan really help you? The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors(NAPFA), the country’sleading professionalassociation of Fee-Onlyfinancial planners, is pleasedto provide you with this fieldguide to assist you in yourpursuit for a qualified,independent financial advisor. The
Pursuit of a Financial Advisor Field Guide
is setup to help you with everyaspect of your quest,including:Preparation for the PursuitEquipping Yourself -Knowing What To Ask!Selecting Where To Look Evaluating PotentialAdvisorsEngagementEvaluating Your AdvisorAdditional Tools andResources
 
Don’t let therebe any surprises.
PREPARATION FOR THE PURSUIT
Before you head out on your pursuit for a financial advisor, it is important for you to understand some basicsabout the financial services industry so there are no surprises. After all, wouldn’t it be troubling to hone in on apotential advisor, only to have he/she be a wolf in sheep’s clothing? For example:Let’s say you selected a financial advisor to develop a comprehensive financial plan for you and your family. Butafter you engaged the advisor he/she focused solely on your investments and disregarded other aspects of yourfinancial life. Even worse, you could be pushed into several investment or insurance products that areinappropriate for you.Based on this scenario, would you have engaged the advisor to begin with? Probably not. Unfortunately, if youdon’t prepare appropriately, you may find yourself in this exact situation.Here’s how you can properly prepare for the pursuit. First, you need to educate yourself about these aspects of working with a financial advisor:CredentialsCompensation modelsDisciplinary issuesElements of financial planningFiduciary vs. Suitability standards
CREDENTIALS
 There are more than 100 professional designations inthe financial planning industry, but only a few of themtruly indicate a professional’s ability to do real broad-based financial planning. All of those fancy lettersafter a planner’s name may be significant, or theymay just be a way of making the advisor sound morecompetent than he or she really is.NAPFA suggests looking for financial advisors whohave one or more of the following:Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®)Personal Financial Specialist (CPA/PFS) – grantedtoCPAs who meet necessary requirementsChartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)NAPFA accepts both the CFP and CPA/PFScredentials as meeting its requirement for a broad-based education in financial planning. Learn more atwww.NAPFA.org/Consumer/FAQ.

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