Choosing the right financial planning professional is a critical decision that will affect your and your loved ones’ financial well-being from day one. Whether you are starting a new job, expanding your family, buying a house or planning for retirement, each stage of life comes with unique financial questions and challenges. You need a financial planner who is willing to understand your situation, your goals and objectives, and helps you develop a realistic plan that shows you clearly how you can achieve financial stability, success and realize your own individual dreams.
Tips for Choosing the Right Financial Planning Professional
Managing your finances is complicated no matter what your current situation is and what your future goals are. A financial advisor is a general term that can refer to anyone who helps you manage your money. This could include a bank employee, a stock broker or even an insurance broker.
A financial planner is a type of advisor who works with you to create a custom plan to help you reach your long-term financial goals. If you are looking for a financial planning professional to help you navigate through all the legalities, taxation considerations, insurance and investment options to meet your own individual goals, follow these tips to find the right financial planner for you and achieve your dreams with a sound financial plan.
1. Understand Your Financial Goals and Needs
Financial planning is all about implementing the right financial strategies to meet your goals and make your dreams a reality. You should first decide what is most important to you now and where you want to be financially in the future. A financial planner can help you to assess your current situation and give advice on how to achieve your goals with the right saving, investment, insurance, and planning strategies.
Your financial planner should understand how important your goals are to you rather than trying to assign a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Each situation is unique and everyone has specific goals in mind for their security and financial freedom.
2. Check Qualifications and Experience of Experts
Poorly defined and unregulated titles such as ‘expert’ or ‘advisor’ may be misleading.
However, ‘Financial Planner’ (Fin. Pl.) is a regulated title. Such regulation is overseen by the IQPF (Institut Québécois de planification financière) in Quebec. Across the rest of Canada, an equivalently regulated title exists under the name of CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and regulated by F.P. Canada.
Check the qualifications and experience of your financial planner and ask for any certifications and their background. Ask for their financial planning experience, trusted referrals, and participation in professional associations. We cannot stress the importance of this step enough as finding an expert with the proper and universally recognized skills will set your project on the right foot from the get-go.
3. Interview Financial Planners
You should interview more than one financial planner and make sure that you feel comfortable discussing your finances and life goals with the people you interview. Make sure that they provide the services you want and need. Ask questions such as:
- How long they have been a financial planner
- Their experience, specialties and education
- Which organizations they participate in and are regulated by
- If they have had any complaints or disciplinary actions by any regulatory agency
- What kind of investment products they are registered to sell and
- The extent of their professional network in cases where a referral is required
- How they get paid or receive their compensation. Do they charge a fee directly to their clients for advice, or do they represent a bank, agency, or other financial institution? In the latter, the client does not incur fees, but the advice may not be as tailored to the client’s specific needs.
These are all very important considerations when trusting a financial planner to help you achieve your life goals. You should feel comfortable discussing these topics and with the answers that you receive. Financial planning can be complex with many considerations that change over the years, so be sure that you feel comfortable addressing your concerns and know how you will adjust your plan as needed. Carefully selecting your Financial Planner or advisor is akin to carefully choosing the sweetest, juiciest fruits at the grocery store rather than picking potentially stale fruit from the display.
SCORE Financial Services offers its expertise in the field of Group Insurance and Group Retirement Benefits as well as for fee Personal Financial Planning.
In the field of Financial Planning, the services are offered on a comprehensive or partial mandate, including developing personal financial plans or estate planning as well as business succession planning or retirement planning.
President and founder Patrick Hureau holds a Financial Planner (Pl. Fin.) designation, bringing more than 30 years of financial planning experience to the table. Mr Hureau is also a Registered Life Underwriter (RLU) and a recognized Group Insurance & Retirement advisor.
If you are looking for someone to help guide you in all aspects of financial planning, such as finances, taxation, legalities, estate planning, insurance, investment and retirement planning, please feel free to contact us today for a complimentary analysis.