Choose A Financial Planner Who’ll Look After Your Financial Health
Your money and investments are precious assets. You want them to keep working for you for a long time to come and to contribute to your financial health. Just like your physical health, your finances need to be looked after and assessed on a yearly basis.
Selecting the right “financial doctor” to monitor your financial health is a decision not to be taken lightly. After all, you wouldn’t put your body in the care of an unqualified or incompetent physician. Your money deserves the same degree of care. So what should you look for in a good financial planner?
GET A RECOMMENDATION
This is probably the best way to start. If someone you trust recommends someone they trust as their financial advisor, the chances are, they’ll make a good financial advisor for you too. However, the decision is ultimately yours. What works for your friends may not work for you, so make the decision based on how you feel and don’t be pressured to choose a financial advisor based solely on your friend’s recommendation. The following guidelines may help.
Select an advisor who has experience
Check that your potential financial planner has a good few years of experience. This helps you in two ways: Firstly, it is an indication that they have made it their career and are likely to stick around to advise you for years to come. Secondly, they have been around long enough to know the market and the products and solutions out there that can help you. The fact that they continue to pursue professional qualifications is an added clue that they are around for the long haul. Check for qualifications such as the CFP Certified Financial Planner certification, a prestigious and highly respected professional designation labelled as the “Gold Standard” in the financial planning and wealth management industries globally.
Look for a good listener
Check to ensure that your advisor is interested in looking after your interests not theirs. If you ask about business insurance but they seem intent on pushing only personal insurance, they aren’t listening to what you need. It is mandatory in Singapore that financial planners conduct an analysis of your current financial situation before they make any recommendations on investments. Just like a doctor doing an examination, they need to find out what areas need attention before they can recommend any course of action.
Make sure they give you a true picture
You need to be hearing the small details from your financial planner – and not just the good stuff. Your planner should be advising you about the “free look” policy without penalty. They also need to warn you of the downsides should you decide to cancel an investment before the recommended time and how you could be adversely affected by early cancellation.
Make your selection based on the right reasons
There are plenty of financial planners all willing to vie for your “business”. The choice is yours, but make sure you base your decision on the right factors. Don’t let anyone pressure you into decisions you are not comfortable with or “buy” you with the offer of free gifts. Give yourself a cooling off period before making a decision and analyse the facts before you commit. A good financial planner will let you do this.
Make it a selection process
Compare a few financial planners and pick the one you feel comfortable with. If you harbour any doubts at all, if there is a tiny voice at the back of your head telling you things are not right, then they probably aren’t and that financial planner, however professional and knowledgeable, just isn’t the one for you.