How to pick a financial adviser

Ask the right questions

Once you've narrowed down a list of potential advisers, you'll need to interview your top choices.

Thomas Balcom, a CFP and founder of 1650 Wealth Management in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Fla., recommends you ask these questions:

  • How are you going to invest my money? Do you provide me with an allocation before investing my money? (Answer: You want to know how much of your money will be invested in stocks and bonds or in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds or some other investment vehicle.)

  • How do you invest your own money? Do you invest alongside your clients and have skin in the game, or do you invest your own money completely differently? (Answer: You’re better off if an adviser invests alongside his or her clients — they will be keeping a closer eye on your investments that way. If they invest completely differently, ask why.)

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority also offer questionnaires to help you select an adviser.

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