WealthTrust-Arizona Examines How To Pick The Right Financial Advisor For You

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Tips From Wealth Management Firm WealthTrust-Arizona On What To Look For When Choosing The Right Advisor


The absolute most important item is to find someone trustworthy

In today’s uncertain economic climate, more and more of us are worried about how we are going to pay for retirement. Over the past few years, headlines about Ponzi schemes and other financial fraud have scared off some people, but investors should not be discouraged.

“The majority of financial advisors are hard-working individuals who look out for the best interests of their clients," says Brent McQuiston, Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor with WealthTrust-Arizona. “Because it can be an overwhelming process trying to choose a trustworthy financial advisor, here at WealthTrust-Arizona we have come up with a quick guide to help people navigate the complex maze of selecting a planner to help with their investments.”

Below are some useful tips on finding a reputable financial planner:

First, outline the goals.
While for most people the fundamental goal is to have enough money to assure a comfortable retirement, others may want to provide investments and assets for their heirs. Professionals can help with investment products or tax and estate planning.

Background check.
Once you find an advisor who is aligned with your goals, look into their background. There are several ways to do this. For example, use BrokerCheck, a tool the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) provides on their website. BrokerCheck allows one to search for brokers and firms which are currently or were previously registered with FINRA to learn about their education, where they have worked previously and whether they have a history of disciplinary actions or complaints.

“The absolute most important item is to find someone trustworthy,” states McQuiston, adding, “After all, you are entrusting your retirement with them. It is imperative to exercise due diligence in choosing an advisor.”

Another good overall resource is the [Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards website (http://www.cfp.net), which allows one to search for planners using criteria such as specialization and compensation. The site also advises if a planner has been publicly disciplined by the board.

Ask around.
Get referrals through personal and professional networks. Also consider e-mailing contacts in alumni, industry and other networks and via social media, such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Be specific about what is being seeked. If it is a long-term financial planning relationship, ask contacts for planners they have worked with for at least 10 years.

Interview potential advisors.
“We find that many consumers are embarrassed to ask for more details or a better explanation,” explains McQuiston. “However, we suggest coming armed with as many questions as possible when initially meeting with a potential advisor.”

Here are some suggested questions to ask a prospective financial planner/firm when meeting with them:

•Overview of their experience.
•Outline of their qualifications.
•Outline of their licenses.
•What products and services are recommend?
•Compensated (ex. fee-based)?
•What is the company's investment philosophy?
•What organizations regulate the firm?
•Will a written agreement which details the services and fees that will be provided?

“In general, a good financial advisor will meet with on a regular basis and adjust their clients financial strategy in response to life changes and changing objectives,” explains McQuiston.

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Iliana Bulnes
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