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San Francisco Financial Advisors

As you get closer to retirement age, you may begin worrying about having enough money saved for the 20 to 30 years after retirement. A financial advisor, also known as a financial planner, can help you create a blueprint with diversified accounts. Whether you are looking to increase your 401(k) contributions or improve your investment portfolio, a certified financial planner (CFP) in San Francisco can help.

You will find dozens of CFPs in the area that can get you started as well as review your finances to see other ways you can save money in order to invest more into your future.

When to Call a Financial Advisor

Since a financial advisor can do so much more than just trade stocks, the earlier you hire one, the better you will meet your financial goals on time. A financial advisor will assess your risk and make investment recommendations based on your age, amount of time before retirement, and your level of risk. Although CFPs are experts, you never have to take their advice or purchase specific investment products if you do not believe you really need them.

Where to Find Financial Advisors

The following is a list of resources you can use to find financial advisors in San Francisco:

The CFP Board of Standards features a database you can use for free to find certified professionals by searching by name or location.

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) hosts a database of fee-only financial advisors.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern Coastal California has listings for 60 financial advisor businesses within 100 miles of the city.

Consider speaking to your family attorney or elder-law attorney about getting referrals for local CFPs.

Choosing an Advisor in Your Area

Your friends, family, and coworkers may be able to provide you with recommendations for local CFPs. Once you make a list of financial advisors you wish to interview, research their credentials and certification status using the CFP Board’s website. The site also mentions any disciplinary actions taken against the CFP and if they have filed bankruptcy in the past.

Whether you choose an advisor that works independently or as part of a firm, you will need them to sit down with you and explain their fee and/or commission structure. This can be a complex method, but it can be broken down into three pay structures.

Fees only – CFPs that only charge a fee may do so as a percentage of your holdings annually based on the investment portfolio’s performance throughout the year.

Commission-based – CFPs can earn a commission from the investment products you purchase.

Fees and commissions – CFPs that provide a variety of services may charge fees and earn commissions.

Discuss the pay structures with the prospective advisor. If the advisor or firm is a fiduciary, they will be able to avoid conflict of interest from commission-only products by putting your needs first and acting in your best interest.

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