Searching for a financial planner to work with can be an overwhelming task. How do you know if you’re working with the right person/firm? The financial decisions in a plan are extremely important and need to be taken very seriously. The role of a financial planner is to help you and your family identify, plan for, and work towards your financial short- and long-term goals.
Understanding the Role of a Financial Planner
There are plenty of financial titles in the industry that can confuse individuals, so it’s important to outline the role of a financial planner. A financial planner and a financial advisor are not the same thing. A financial planner and a stockbroker are also not the same thing.
Here at Mullooly Asset Management, we use financial planning as a way to make sure our clients are prepared for their financial goals. Full service financial planning encapsulates all areas of your financial life. We evaluate cash flow needs, budget strategies, investment management, tax planning, estate planning, college planning, saving for retirement, retirement income strategies, insurance needs and more. Not everybody offering “financial planning” touches on every area of a financial plan. It’s important to ask the right questions to find out what that professional does.
We have compiled a short list of important questions to ask a financial planner before you start the planning process. This list is not comprehensive in any means, and should be used merely as a starting point to a bigger discussion to determine if that planner is right for you.
Question #1: How Long Have You Been Practicing?
While most planners are qualified, finding someone that you trust with your savings and the future of your financial path is incredibly important. Everyone needs to get a start somewhere but finding someone with experience is key. It may be helpful to know that for an advisor to be eligible for a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) designation, they need to have at least three years of experience. Here at Mullooly Asset Management we have over four decades of experience among our team members.
Question #2: Are you a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?
Not every financial planner is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®). To become a CFP®, the planner must pass testing that demonstrates they meet regulated educational requirements and professional standards.
One of our advisors, Brendan Mullooly, is a CFP® and we take pride in the fact that we are able to serve our clients in the best way possible.
Question #3: Do You Have a Niche?
Some financial planners may choose to work with a niche clientele – pre-retirees, doctors, educators, women, etc. Alternatively, some planners are more accommodating to helping everyone who meets some general criteria – regardless of age or profession.
Finding a planner who works with others like you is a great way to make sure they will understand your specific needs and be familiar with options available to you.
Question #4: How Are You Compensated?
Transparency is important. Make sure your planner explains the fees clearly so you have a solid understanding of what you’re expected to pay and the services you will receive. If you are going to be working with a fee-only financial planner, they will be incentivized to provide advice and service that is in line with your goals.
If you would like to learn how we are compensated here at Mullooly Asset Management, click here!
Finding a financial planner can be tough but making sure you find the RIGHT planner for you is so important. If you still have questions about how to find the right financial planner, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. There is no cost or obligation. You can click here to schedule an appointment with our team.