When you work a lifetime for your savings and investments, you want to have peace of mind knowing that your money is safe and in good hands. While there’s no foolproof way to know that for sure, a little due diligence goes a long way when choosing the best financial advisor for your family.
When performing your search, you’ll want to touch base on some important information such as:
Method of service-written analysis, recommendations, implementation, on-going advice
Credentials and professional designations
Type of compensation
Is the firm a Registered Investment Advisor?
An initial phone or email interview can help get some of the basic questions out of the way. From there, it’s time to make an appointment to visit a few of them in person.
Understanding how financial advisors get paid may be a factor in how you choose one that best serves the needs of your family. There are three basic forms of fee structures for financial advisors.
Fee-only: The fee-only structure means that your financial advisor will be paid a fee either based upon an agreed hourly fee or a certain percent of the total annual financial assets. That percentage is typically around 1%. Many consumers prefer having the commission tied to how well their investment portfolios perform.
Commission: Financial advisors who serve as brokers for many companies have the liberty to pick and choose the types of products and services they offer you. Their selections may or may not be in your best interests. This type of fee structure sets the state for a conflict of interest where the advisor’s professional duties may conflict with maximizing his or her earning potential.
Fee and Commission: Many financial advisors find it prosperous to offer investments and insurance products. Whereas investments are usually paid on a fee basis, insurance products are paid on a commission basis. These types of advisors will charge fees and accept commissions based upon the products and services they offer.
Following you will find some resources to help find the best financial advisor in Atlanta.
The Fee-Only Network is a collaboration with The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) to provide a database of fee-only financial advisors throughout the state of Georgia. Advisors are listed by city. Financial advisors listed specialize in financial planning, retirement planning, wealth management, tax planning, investment management, and all areas of financial planning. All of them are members of NAPFA.
NAPFA is fee-only and their members work under a fiduciary (best interest of the client) standard. None of their members accept commissions. NAPFA does offer a Find an Advisor feature for consumers to use to find NAPFA members (approximately 2,600 members strong at this time). Their database has access to financial professionals who meet the highest membership standards for professional competency for client-focused financial planning. The site also offers tips, tools, and a finance blog. You may want to ask prospective advisors if they attend the NAPFA annual conferences.
A search in Atlanta, Georgia, yields about 16 certified, fee-only financial advisors and planners.
FINRA is private authority that regulates the financial and securities industries so that they are honest and fair. FINRA is responsible for regulating individual financial advisors and financial advisory firms. Consumers can easily check out advisors that they are considering working with either by entering their names or locations into the online searchable database at BrokerCheck. Consumers will be able to see the broker’s history, certifications, licenses, regulatory actions, violations, and complaints.
The FINRA site has a wealth of information for potential investors.
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