At some point in your life, you might accumulate enough wealth where you no longer feel comfortable going alone when it comes to managing your finances and investments.
Perhaps you received an inheritance, saved $100,000 in your retirement account or earned a big bonus. Or maybe you just think it's just time to get some help.
When that time comes, there are plenty of in-person and online financial advisers to assist you. Yet, finding the ideal person or program to help can be daunting.
There are some 200,000 personal financial advisers in the U.S., according to the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics. And there are many automated investing services offering so-called "robo-advice."
So where to begin?
First, find out if your employer offers any financial planning help, says Liz Davidson, author of "What Your Financial Advisor Isn't Telling You" and CEO of Financial Finesse, which provides workplace financial education. Some firms provide one-on-one consultations with a financial planner as an employee benefit or through a 401(k) program, as well as other money management coaching.
"If you have a workplace financial wellness program through your employer, start there," says Davidson.
Also, ask friends and family for recommendations, says Brian Jacobs, a certified investment management analyst and managing partner with Jacobs Strategic Consulting. "Friends and family seem to be the most trusted method for finding services in most aspects of the economy," he says. "Certainly has been true with advisers."
That said, knowing what type of adviser you seek is the first step, says Jacobs. "Are you seeking a holistic, multi-generational financial planner that will manage wealth and protection for your entire family or are you just seeking a money manager?" he says. "Do you need tax advice and insurance? So before asking for referrals it's good to get an understanding of your needs."
In addition, explore the professional services offered by groups such as the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the Financial Planning Association (FPA), the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors and the Garrett Financial Planning Network, all of which have searchable databases and financial education material.
The FPA's PlannerSearch publishes, among other things, articles that address financial planning for life events such as buying a home or saving for retirement.