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Have any tips for finding a good financial adviser? How much should I plan on spending (ballpark figure) for his/her advice?


It’s hard to offer even a ballpark figure on the cost of a financial adviser because it depends on your personal circumstances and how many moving parts your financial life has. It’s important, though, to use a planner that charges an hourly or other fee rather than being compensated from commissions. The second type of adviser may put you in investments, insurance products and so on that produce the highest returns for them, not you.

As for finding an appropriate adviser, start with a recommendation from someone whom you trust, preferably someone whose circumstances are similar to yours. Another good way to get referrals is to ask professionals in related fields such as lawyers and accountants. Once you’ve found some candidates, check their bona-fides by verifying that each has been registered as a “certified financial planner,” a credential recognized as a mark of legitimacy.

You should also ensure that a prospective adviser uses an independent custodian, typically a big bank, to hold all assets and that statements will come directly from the custodian. Make sure, too, that candidates have access to expertise, either in house or through longstanding personal associations, from practitioners in relevant fields, such as accounting, tax planning and insurance.

Finally, when you sit down for an interview with prospective advisers, make sure they show an interest in you and not your money. They should ask about your financial and personal goals, family situation, tolerance for risk and so on. Then, only after establishing who you are and what you want, they should start talking about your wealth as the means to a satisfactory end.
-Conrad de Aenlle