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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Deciding On An Expert Financial Advisor

By John Eather

Long-term planning for one's finances is probably one of the most important activities which will need to be undertaken in a person's life. This is why knowing a few tips for finding an expert financial advisor can make a difference in good personal financial planning. In fact, monetary decisions made early in a person's savings life can have a wide range of impacts in later life, just before retirement - whenever that may be.

What then, are some of the actions a person should take before deciding upon the financial advisor who will help guide him or her through the intricacies of finance and planning for investing and eventual retirement? For starters, a person should never just pick out the first so-called "advisor" who pops up on an Internet search engine's results page. There are a lot of con artists out there and never so much so as in the finance and investments industries.

Always check on a planner's credentials, certifications and memberships in professional associations. No planner worth his or her salt will hesitate at providing background information. In fact, the good ones all encourage potential clients to look at their bona fides carefully before making a decision. Generally, any planner at one of the large financial services companies will have all these attributes.

Many small or independent firms also seek to maintain a high degree of professionalism, so don't be afraid to investigate the possibility of using an advisor from such entities. And professionals from any size firm will always have a complete and full disclosure form, called the Form ADV Part 1, and Part 2, on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The copy is viewable on the SEC's website, too.

Trusting blindly to any financial advisor is not a recommended practice. Take the time to do a background check, and look to see if the advisor has had any run-ins with regulators or has received complaints from other investors. All of this information is freely available on the Internet and at the SEC's website. From there, any additional tips for finding an expert financial advisor can be easily obtained. - 23212

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