Sometime big monetary decisions require the help of someone impartial – a financial adviser. These could include investing for the first time, changing investments, getting a first time mortgage, changing mortgages due to moving house, saving for a pension or drawing upon a pension. When making these decisions, it is important to get advice from the right financial advisor for you and for what you are looking to talk to them about.
The best place to start is by asking friends and relatives if they have any particularly good dealings with financial advisors. If you have got a couple of recommendations then still make sure you check them out yourself but at least you’ll have a good starting point and positive reviews before contacting them.
Even if you have got a recommendation or two from people you know, make sure you’ve got a list of at least three financial advisors to speak to before choosing just the one. Try and phone them to see if they seem like someone you would be ok working with. You may find that during the call they say things that don’t sit well or prove to be so difficult to get hold of that you end up giving up before you’ve even said ‘hello’ to them.
You also want to be ensuring that all of the financial advisors you are speaking to are totally independent. If they aren’t then this will impair what services they are able to talk to you about, thus limiting the overall picture of advice that they can give. If they have a Certificate in Financial Planning then this is a sign that you may want to avoid them. You really want to be going for someone who has either a Diploma or even an Advanced Diploma as they will be better placed to give you the best advice for your situation.
Ask about their fees. You need to establish how they will charge you: do they have an hourly rate or do they charge by commission or even a mix of both? You need to know this before you step into their office. It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t be paying fees and paying by commission. It should be one or the other, not both and if you’ve paid fees but then they need to change you to commission, you should be offset one against the other. Depending on how you pay, this may affect how often you can go back for advice (especially if you need to go back repeatedly) so try and make sure from the offset you will be able to return if needed.