If you’re considering investing, you want to make the right decisions. The risk of putting your money into a stock or investment blindly is too great. Even the mega rich know that investing without expert advice is a recipe for disaster. If you value your money, you’ll want to find an excellent investment advisor that will help you make the right investment decisions while minimizing risks as much as possible.
Not All Investment Advisors are Financial Planners
One of the most confusing parts of finding an investment advisor is deciphering between a financial planner and an investment advisor. While similar, these are not the same thing.
Investment advisors will:
- Offer advice on investment products.
- Offer advice on products that are not securities.
- Most are investment advisors.
- They assess your financial life, including:
- Estate planning
- Retirement options
- What experience do you have? Ideally, you’ll find an advisor that has experience dealing with others in your current circumstance.
- Are you registered with the SEC? The SEC is a very important government and the advisor may also hold a license with FINRA.
- What products do you offer? You want to have a well-diversified portfolio. If an advisor only offers a few products or services, you’ll not receive the same level of diversity and financial security that another advisor can provide.
- What are you fees? Some advisors will require flat fees, others will require hourly or commission-based payments.
- Will you send me your Form ADV? If your advisor has had a disciplinary issue in the past, they will likely have filed a Form ADV. This will disclose what issues that firm or person had in the past and further details. If your advisor will not supply these copies, you can consult the IAPD website.
- What credentials do you have? Many advisors will not be as experienced as you would have hoped. Asking your potential advisor about their credentials and experience is a must. If the advisor states that they have a specific credential, you can contact the respective issuer and validate that your advisor has earned the credential.
Financial planners are different because:
If you want to invest in stocks and securities, you’ll find that an investment advisor is the optimal choice. Oftentimes, they will have much lower fees and commissions than that of a financial planner that offers expansive services which you may not use.
Once you understand this main difference, you’ll be prepared to ask your potential advisor a slew of questions. The following questions should be asked:
The final consideration should be the availability of your advisor. You need someone that will sit down and talk to you about your investment options and how best to invest your money. There are two avenues you can choose: online advisors or face-to-face. Ideally, you’ll meet with an advisor face-to-face; this allows you to personally get to know your advisor.
When investing, you can never ask too many questions. Always feel free to ask your advisor about a particular product you don’t understand, or why you should invest in a recommended investment.