For some people, managing finances alone can be challenging. Although there are plenty of financial management apps and other tools available, sometimes the help of a professional is recommended.
Financial advisors help people manage their income and achieve financial goals. Whether you want to buy a house or manage investments, financial advisors offer a variety of planning services tailored to your specific goals.
While getting financial advice might help you with your spending and saving habits, you may find that you need a little more guidance in your financial journey. Understanding what services you need is critical when looking for the right financial advisors. Here’s how to choose the best financial planner for your situation:
Finding the Right Financial Planner
Financial planning can be confusing, especially since there are many types of advisors. The advisor that you pick should have experience handling the type of specific financial planning you need.
While looking for the right financial advisor, you’ll likely hear the word fiduciary mentioned. A fiduciary is legally required to put your best interests before their own. However, this can be challenging to regulate and may be expensive. No one knows your needs better than you, and there are other, less expensive options for money management.
Knowing that there are distinct types of financial advisors, there are also different platforms to reach them on. Choosing the right advisor can prevent you from needlessly spending money on a service that may not suit your financial needs. While some advisors have charge high rates, there are options for practically any budget.
If you are comfortable in the virtual realm, then you may opt for using a robo-advisor. This type of advising differs from traditional financial advising services and offers investment management at a more affordable rate. This service works best for people who may not desire a complete financial plan, but want to work towards a comfortable retirement. If you select a robo-advising solution, you can expect little to no human interaction so if you are not comfortable with self-guided financial advice, consider other options.
If you plan to seek an advisor for keeping track of your income and investments, choosing an online service or a robo-advisor makes sense, especially since it is a less expensive choice. These services tend to be basic in nature, so you won’t end up paying for services you don’t need.
Online Financial Planning Services
Those with complex financial situations like large amounts of debt or multiple income streams may be satisfied with a virtual advisor. This is the next most cost-efficient option for those who are more financially savvy, but who may have questions from time to time.
Similar to robo-advising, online financial planning services are another alternative for those looking for general financial planning advice. Generally, online advising is more suitable for people who have specific questions or concerns, as customer service is still available and virtual advising is similar to an in-person advisor. With online advising, you will still be provided with the same financial goal-setting services as in-person advising.
Traditional Financial Advising
For people who prefer a more traditional approach, an in-person financial advisor would be the best option. Some traditional advisor occupations range from certified financial planners to wealth managers. It is not uncommon to come across an advisor that possesses multiple job titles, designations, and certifications.
Though in-person advising is the most traditional option, it is also pricey. Not only are traditional financial advisors more expensive, but they may also require a minimum balance in order to provide services. This may be a challenge for someone just learning to manage their money. If you feel more comfortable meeting your advisor in person or you need more specialized services, however, a traditional financial advisor should be considered.
Free or Low-Cost Advising Options
In terms of cost-effective options, it is worth noting that many banks and credit unions provide financial management and advising services. Using services that are already available to you will save both time and money. It will also allow you to manage your finances in the same place.
There are also various resources like books, trade magazines, and podcasts that can provide general financial management advice. Many non-profit credit counseling agencies provide financial management and advising services that are offered at little or no cost. Additionally, the Foundation for Financial Planning offers free planning services to people with special financial circumstances. This option is great for people who have struggled to manage their finances or those with limited income.
Use an Advisor to Reach Your Goals
Having a clear picture of your financial situation allows you to better manage your financial and investment goals. Using the tips outlined here, seeking a financial advisor can help reduce the stress of managing multiple accounts and setting clear and achievable financial goals. Choosing a financial advisor based on your needs can maximize your financial literacy and help identify and address any underlying money issues.