Choosing a financial advisor is a major life decision that can determine your financial trajectory for years to come. A 2020 Northwestern Mutual study found that 71% of U.S. adults admit their financial planning needs improvement. However, only 29% of Americans work with a financial advisor.
1. Hiring an Advisor Who Is Not a Fiduciary
By definition, a fiduciary is an individual who is ethically bound to act in another person’s best interest. This obligation eliminates conflict of interest concerns and makes an advisor’s advice more trustworthy.
2. Hiring the First Advisor You Meet
While it’s tempting to hire the advisor closest to home or the first advisor in the yellow pages, this decision requires more time. Take the time to interview at least a few advisors before picking the best match for you.
3. Choosing an Advisor with the Wrong Specialty
Some financial advisors specialize in retirement planning, while others are best for business owners or those with a high net worth. Some might be best for young professionals starting a family. Be sure to understand an advisor’s strengths and weaknesses before signing the dotted line.
4. Picking an Advisor with an Incompatible Strategy
Each advisor has a unique strategy. Some advisors may suggest aggressive investments, while others are more conservative. If you prefer to go all-in on stocks, an advisor that prefers bonds and index funds is not a great match for your style.