3 key questions before picking a financial adviser

WASHINGTON — Tax-filing crunchtime is over, but it’s never too early to starting thinking about next year — and some professional advice may be the answer to getting your financial ducks in a row.

“You’ve done the hard work of tax prep. Now is such a perfect time,” Jill Schlesinger, CBS News’ senior business analyst, told WTOP. “Get your statements together; get your tax returns together; go start the interview process.”

Scheslinger said there are several things to consider when selecting a financial adviser.

“If you need help with the planning process, even though there may be tools, it’s really helpful to work with a certified financial planner — someone who can sit down with you and say, ‘OK, tell me about your goals and objectives; tell me about your priorities,'” Schlesinger said. “And these can be hard conversations to have … It forces you to really take stock. It’s often a lot easier to do that with the guidance of someone who’s been trained.”

Next, look for those certifications.

“These certifications are really important,” she said. Certifications — from the Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards or the American Institute of CPAs, for example — signal that the planner in question is held to the fiduciary standard, which means your best interests have to come first.

“What you’re really looking for is somebody who is credentialed, who’s studied this, who has ethical standards that he or she has to comply with and who’s going to actually listen to your needs and develop a plan that helps you get where you want to go.”

Finally, don’t be shy about discussing how your financial planner will be compensated.

“There’s lots of different ways to do it: You can pay hourly; you can base it on the number of assets that the person’s managing. But whatever it is, it’s got to be clear, and you have to feel comfortable with that,” Schlesinger said.

For more tips on choosing a financial adviser, check out Jill Schlesinger’s “JillOnMoney” column.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up