How to select a financial planner

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By Elliot Raphaelson

Many people believe they need a financial adviser but are unsure of how choose among the many firms and people who offer such services. These are the guidelines I recommend.
–Use a “fee-only” financial planner. He or she charges directly for establishing a plan and providing advice, and does not earn commissions from selling you financial products. You can find a fee-only planner through the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (napfa.org) and the Garret Planning Network (garrettplanningnetwork.com).
–Verify credentials. Advisers who manage money must file an Investment Adviser Public Disclosure form with the Security and Exchange Commission (you can search an adviser’s record at AdviserInfo.sec.gov.) The form discloses educational background, fees, investment methods, whether they are truly fee-only and whether there are any regulatory actions against the adviser.
The form also lists credentials. Those with certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA) or chartered financial consultant (ChFC) credentials likely have a greater understanding of personal finance issues.
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