How to Hire a Financial Adviser


Hiring a financial adviser is not an easy task, especially if you are new to investing or feel uncomfortable having someone other than yourself or family member overseeing your financial well being.  You first have to find a financial advisor, then like any investment you make, consider the adviser’s past performance history and your ability to work with him/her on a regular basis.  Here are several guidelines for hiring a financial advisor before making your selection. This will help you answer the question, “What is a financial advisor?”

What relevant experience do you have?

The advisor should have several years minimum in the financial area field, as well as with people in your current financial situation.  If the advisor has recently moved from say, corporate advising to individual advising, ask enough personal questions to reassurance that he/she is right for you.

What is your employment history?

This is no different than a resume.  Remember, you are hiring this person to provide a service for you, not the other way around, so interview the advisor as you would any employee for an opening within your personal company.  If the advisor has moved jobs, ask if he did so under his own will or was he terminated?  If he/she was terminated, definitely ask more probing questions as to why this occurred and if it is applicable to you business as well.

Are you professionally certified to be a financial planner?

All financial advisors can give you financial advice, but not all can sell you the products they might recommend.  Advisors may specialize in investment advice only by selling individual stocks and/or mutual funds, while others are licensed to sell insurance, tax advisements, etc.  To be a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), requires specific certifications monitored by the Federal Government’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  If you feel need for such verification, check the SEC’s website.

How are you paid for your services?

Does the advisor require payment charge an hourly fee, charge a percentage of your portfolio, or collect payment on commissions only?  All questions are vital to your financial success.

How does he/she communicate with you?

Are you satisfied with internet communication only, or do you require face to face meetings only?  For some tech savvy individuals, face to face meetings are never a requirement.  Some others would disagree that they meet with the advisor personally once a month.  However, the advisor may have associates that work with him, so will the client communicating directly with the individual go through an intermediary assistant.

How successful is the planner?

You obviously do not want to enlist someone who will lose your hard earned money.  So this is a very important requirement in choosing between different financial advisors.  You do not have to choose the best performer in terms of return of investment (ROI) but choose financial advisor that meets your particular requirements.  For example, if you are 40 years of age your requirements are completely different if you are 60 and planning retirement in the next year.

Remember, financial planners are people just like everyone else.  They will have their own style, their own personality, and most of all their own methods of communicating about money.  Part of any successful relationship (business or personal) requires a certain level of comfort, and if not met, can have negative consequences.  Therefore, find an advisor you are comfortable with to have a face to face meeting if you need peace of mind of if you are more trusting, a phone call may be sufficient enough based upon the advisors reputation.  Whatever the outcome, make sure you find someone to answer your questions, generate a positive return on your assets, and allow you to sleep at night.

About Cathy Severson

Cathy Severson helps baby boomers find more meaning and purpose in their lives and work. Get your copy of her complimentary e-book Guide to Retirement Activities a comprehensive look at work, volunteering and leisure based on an individuals’ personalities. Call for a complimentary 20-minute consultation to answer your most pressing concern. 928.775.4949 or email Cathy at

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