Hiring a financial planner is an exciting and important step towards creating a financial plan to live the life you want free of stress and worry. 

A financial planner is a qualified professional that is able to advise you on the best way to use your money. Financial plans cover cash flow planning and management, retirement planning, investment advice with risk management, insurance planning, tax planning and estate planning. 

It’s a big decision, so it’s  important to find someone you trust that meets the following criteria to help you plan your future:

  1. Look at the credentials 

Before getting a professional to help you develop a plan for your financial future, it’s important to check that the person you are going to working with is actually qualified. 

Look for a financial planner that is degree qualified with either bachelor or master’s degree and has done additional specialist diplomas in financial planning. There are also benefits working with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professional as they’ve done additional study and are members of an organisation that has an additional code of ethics.

  1. How good are the questions

Everyone has their own uniquely different values and goals. A top financial planner will take to time to ask questions to gain a deeper understanding about your situation. 

The questions should get you thinking about what’s important to you, what you want to spend your money on and where you want to be in the future. These questions are designed to ensure the financial planner understands your situation and is able to recommend appropriate options for you based on your individual circumstances.

Everyone has different values, goals and financial situations and there is no one size fits all option. It’s wise to run away from an adviser who quickly jumps to solution mode and starts talking about products without taking the time to get an understanding of what you want achieve.  A top adviser will explain all the options available and help you find the one that’s right for you.

  1. How are they paid

All financial planners have different pay structures and the fees vary depending on the amount and the complexity of the work. Most financial planners will charge you a fee for the initial advice and, depending on what you do, there might be an additional fee for implementing the plan. Some may also take commissions on the insurance premiums. 

Its important you feel you’re getting value for the fees paid and transparency is the key. If the financial planner is not forthcoming and doesn’t clearly explain the different fees and charges, move on.

  1. What’s the investment philosophy

Investing for the long-term is all about having a robust investment strategy. A top financial planner will be able to articulate their investment philosophy to you in a simple, easy to understand way. 

If your financial planner starts talking about how they’re able to pick stocks or managed funds that consistently outperform the market, move on. You do not want to be working with someone who makes false promises investing your money for you. 

  1. Trust your instincts and intuition

At the end of the day, it’s important to trust your instincts and intuition. You’re hiring a financial planner that will be helping you achieve your financial goals and setting you on the path the living the life you want. 

Don’t ignore your instincts. You don’t want to be going into a relationship with someone that isn’t the right fit for you. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t hire them. There are plenty of great advisers out there, keep looking for the right one for you.  

If you’re unsure, continue to conduct reference checks until you have a clearer idea about what your planner is about.