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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Financial Advisors: What You Need to Know Before Hiring One

By Paul J. Easton

This article will try to answer some of the typical questions revolving around getting a financial advisor. For the benefit of a beginner like you or an advanced and sophisticated investor, this will give an overview of what you need to know before hiring a financial advisor.

Then what is a financial advisor? Financial advisors are in the service of giving advices about securities, investments, and other financial instruments based on the needs of the clients. For example, professionals who are compensated with a fee for giving advices on investing in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment vehicles are called investment advisors. Some financial advisors manage portfolios of securities by their individual clients.

How about the financial planners? What is the difference between one and an investment advisor? Actually, most financial planners are investment advisors. But not all investment advisors are financial planners.

Financial planners are certified professionals who can craft a customized financial plan for you as the client. The planner will assess all the aspects of your financial life you're your savings, present investments, insurance, taxes, retirement, and even estate planning.

By assessing your overall financial life, he or she will help you develop a detailed strategy called a financial plan to meet your financial goals. This might be a simple plan but it is actually a detailed list of strategies with various financial instruments and fit to your limitations.

Some people might call themselves financial planners. Be wary with choosing one because some financial professionals might only recommend you to invest in a narrow range of financial products without considering your current financial status. In worse scenario, they may even recommend you to invest in products that are not securities. As a basic rule, always know yourself at the level of your education. Before hiring a professional in the financial field, know exactly what your financial needs are and the appropriate services you must have to meet these needs.

Bear in mind what services your financial professional can deliver. Ask for any limitations on what they can recommend and for any part of the financial world they are confident with. You are more secure with people who are honest and ethical with the start than going with a planner who will only promise you the moon and end up as a disaster. Ask what services you will be paying for if you hire them and ask them the rate of those services.

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