Mar 12, 2013

Tips for choosing a financial planner

JOHN NORTH, 
PRESIDENT AND CEO 
BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU 
It’s never too late to get your finances in order. A financial planner can help you save, invest and grow your money for your future. Your Better Business Bureau offers tips to help you find a reputable financial planner.

In 2011, more than 8,500 complaints were recorded in the U.S. and Canada against financial planners with your BBB. A good financial planner should give you objective, reliable advice to fit your needs.

There are several types of financial planners. Some charge by the hour or a flat rate. Other financial planners earn money through commission on products sold or a combination of fees and commissions.

To help you find one that best fits your needs, your BBB offers these tips:

* Research the financial planners you’re considering. Set up in-person interviews and determine if there are any fees for doing so.

* Find out what kind of services and products they offer.

* Ask if the financial planner belongs to any professional organizations.

* Investigate background and credentials. Check whether your financial professional is licensed and obtain background information by calling the Ohio Division of Securities’ Investor Protection Hotline at (800) 788-1194. Look for credentials, such as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), which is a professional who has passed rigorous exams and is required to pursue continuing education credits.

* Set up future meetings with your financial planner to make sure your plan continues to meet your goals.

* Don’t give into high-pressure sales tactics. Any reputable investment company will let you take your time to make a wise decision.

* Get everything in writing and don’t sign anything until you understand it.

A great way to find a trustworthy financial planner is by word of mouth. Ask your friends and family who they’ve used and would recommend. Ask the financial planner for references. Also, contact your BBB. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301. It can provide you with a list of BBB accredited financial planners and business reviews on ones you’re considering.

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