How to Choose the Right Financial Advisor

By: Bill Few Associates Vice President, Mia Kovacs, CFP®

When the thought comes to mind of contacting a financial advisor to assist with financial planning, some may dismiss the idea thinking they have not acquired enough wealth to warrant such services. That is simply not so. Financial planning services are for everyone and can help you set up and attain financial goals.

Deciding to create a financial plan for yourself and your family may necessitate hiring a financial advisor. The next step would be to find one. Whether you search on the internet, listen to the radio, or pick up a magazine, you will find plenty of financial advisor advisements. So, how do you choose?  We advise that you find someone that is right for you and your individual needs, and certainly someone who you can trust. This is because your financial picture touches everything that you genuinely care about: your home, your children, and your ability to retire.

A good first step is to look at the credentials and experience of financial advisors in your area. There are several credentials that financial advisors can acquire. It is important to note that some of these credentials are easily obtained, and, for a fee, can make a salesperson seem like a financial expert.  On the other hand, there are credentials that indicate a higher level of education which include the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designations. These designations have annual continuing education requirements and carry a higher level of fiduciary standard. Being a fiduciary means a person must act in your best interest. Experience matters to ensure advisors know how planning works in real-world terms.

RELATED: Learn why you shouldn’t make excuses to speak with a financial advisor.

Once you settle on a few qualified advisors in your area, call them to set up an interview. The following questions are important to ask in order to decide if they are the right fit for you and your goals:

Who is your typical clientele?
This will indicate if they can address your situation and goals. Ask them about their investment philosophy and make sure it is in line with your expectations.

How often do you meet with and communicate with your clients?
An advisor should be meeting with you on a regular and ongoing basis, whether that is annually, semi-annually, or quarterly. During the initial interview and meetings, make sure they take the time to educate you in terms that you understand. Make sure they are articulating your goals back to you and strategizing with you to meet those goals.

How do you get paid?
Advisors can charge a fee or get paid by commission. If they charge a fee it can be a flat fee, an hourly fee, or an annual fee based on the assets they manage. If they get paid by commission, that means they only get paid if they sell you a product. There are potential conflicts of interest that can arise when advisors are commission-based. Make sure you are comfortable with whatever fee structure the advisor uses.

Finding a financial advisor can take some time and effort, but you will benefit by having the peace of mind that you are in the right hands and can start relying on them to help you meet your financial goals. If you have questions about this information or if you would like to talk with us to see if we are the right fit for you, call our experienced financial advisors today at 412-630-6000.  We are here to help.

(412) 630-6000
(800) 245-5939
(412) 630-6001 fax


Mia Kovacs, CFP®

Bill Few Associates

740 Washington Road

Pittsburgh, PA 15228





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