Finding Financial and Legal Professionals

As grown children, we always want the best for our parents, just the same as they did for us when we were growing up. That’s why choosing a financial advisor for our loved ones can be just as important as choosing a doctor or lawyer for them. The advice given by financial advisors, just like medical or legal advice, can be very important, it could even be damaging if it is poorly given. That’s why it’s also important that you take time to research and find the financial advisor that is going to help your family member get where he or she wants to be. 

The first thing you need to know about working with financial advisors is that it can be a very personal relationship. Things like good communication, rapport, and trust are valuable to success for your family member (and for you as well if you will also be working with the advisor). Pick someone your relative feels comfortable with. Also, the more that the financial professional knows about your family member’s financial situation, the better off things are going to be.

As we said, communication is always a two-way street, but it falls to the advisor to get that communication line open. A good financial advisor should do the following:

  • Ask the right questions. There is always a correct question for every important answer given, and a good financial advisor knows both how and when to ask those questions that will give them the answers they’re looking for to be able to give you the best help possible.
  • Pay attention and act on what the family member says. They should always be open to listening to what your family member has to say, respect their chosen degree of risks and objectives, and offer recommendations that suit them.
  • Treat your family member with both courtesy and respect. So if you feel like you or your family member are not being respected, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere.
  • Offer explanations until your family member understands. A good advisor will give you information and take as much time as is needed to explain a proposed transaction and make sure you and your family member understand exactly what will take place.

In the same way, you’ll want to be sure and ask questions yourself. Some things you and your family member will want to be sure and ask about:

  • Financial designations and/or licenses the advisor holds. The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is widely accepted as a mark of education and ethical standards.
  • Educational background and work experience.
  • Services the advisor gives, areas of specialization, types of clients served, and any minimum net worth or income requirements.
  • Their approach to financial planning, and how your family member’s needs will be addressed specifically.
  • Whether or not the advisor or others will implement any recommendations from this plan.
  • Any business relationships the advisor has that may prove to be a conflict of interest.