Money is a complicated topic. People divorce over it. Businesses fail because of lack of understanding of it. Even large corporations stumble and fall because they made bad decisions about it. We’re given very little education, if any at all, about managing money and investing so it should be no suprise that there aren’t more of us who are savvy about it. This is where a financial advisor comes in. I’ve also seen financial advisors called “financial coaches”, “financial planners” and, most recently “financial therapists”. There are many well-meaning people who are willing to advise you on how to fix your money problems and how to build wealth for now and retirment. How do you know you are working with someone credible and trustworthy?

Ask your financial planning candidates about their credentials? Are they a Certified Financial Planner (which requires study and passing a national exam), a Certified Public Accountant, an attorney (yes. I am all three!) ? A reputable financial planner wants to be educated! Ask them to prove how they have been.

Get real input from people you trust to find out who they are using. Ask about their results and the person’s responsiveness, style and values. You want someone you mesh with.

Find out what services they offer. Can they do estate planning? Do they specialize in retirement planning? Can they advise you if you are suffering through financial difficulties.

They should not sell products! No insurance, stocks, annuities, etc.

Are there any disciplinary actions in your history? Make sure this person is reputable, not just with clients but also with their licensing and certifying bodies.

Find out how much and when you will be charged. Are phone calls included or do you pay by the hour for those? Get a written service agreement.

With the markets in flux, the economy shaky and your retirement less than secure, a financial advisor can be your winning edge, both in your personal and business lives. Don’t hesistate to contact me to get a feel for how I operate and what I can do for you.


by Steven Schlagel