While financial consultants might be particularly busy these days, don’t let long lines scare you. It’s always a good time to get the advice of a financial planner. To find one, you could do an Internet search of local consultants, check out the Financial Planning Association’s Web site, or get recommendations from people you trust.
“Identify three people and set up a time to talk with each of them in person,” says Sacha Millstone, senior vice president of Raymond James, a Florida financial planning and brokerage firm.
Do an exploratory interview. “Each office will have a way to handle that,” Millstone says. Expect to have a general conversation. Some firms ask you to bring certain financial statements with you, but most just ask you to come in with some goals in mind.
Just as a remodeler needs to mesh with a client, you have to feel comfortable with a financial planner. “Ask them to describe their planning process,” Millstone says, “how they decide what clients should invest in, and what their typical client is like.”
Try to outline a scope of what you’re looking to do — create a succession plan, develop a 401(k) plan, define insurance needs, etc. Then get an idea of how this person would approach each topic and what their fees are. Make sure there’s good, open communication during your discussion.
Although the exploratory interview is free, you should discuss fees. It’s typical to pay an annual 1% to 2% fee based on the value of the assets the firm will be managing, although final figures depend on the account’s size and your investments.