How to pick a financial adviser

Your net worth matters

An adviser who works primarily with people with a financial situation similar to yours will know the best strategies for achieving your goals.

Many advisers require you to have assets of at least $250,000, but there are advisers who work with smaller accounts. Some search tools show investment minimums, but you may have to ask an adviser who interests you.

You’ll also need to decide whether you need a financial plan, investment management or both.

"A full financial plan is a comprehensive look at a client’s complete financial life: cash flow, net worth, insurance, savings, college, retirement, investments and estate," says James A. Daniel, a certified financial planner and a financial adviser with The Advisory Firm in Alpharetta, Ga.

"Investment management is where the client turns over their investment accounts to an adviser and lets that adviser manage the accounts," he says. You’ll typically pay the adviser a fee of 1% annually of assets under management.

The fee to develop a financial plan can range from $150 to $250 an hour. Flat fees can run from $1,500 to $4,500 to develop the plan, Daniel says.

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