Straight Talk

How to pick a financial advisor

Key Points
  • It can be hard to know when you're ready to hire an expert to help you manage your finances.
  • But waiting too long can also risk your goals.
  • Here's an explainer to help you get started.
How to pick a financial advisor
How to pick a financial advisor

Are you ready to hire a financial advisor?

If you have a good income but don't fully understand how to reach your financial goals, then it might be time, said Winnie Sun, founder of California-based Sun Group Wealth Partners.

"You'll know when you need a financial advisor," Sun said.

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When you start looking for an expert, make sure you do plenty of research and don't settle until you've found someone you "click with," Sun said. "There are so many wonderful financial advisors out there, so it makes sense to take the time to find someone that really understands you and your needs," she said.

Sun recommends prospective clients look up an advisor's social media presence as well as any recent work he or she might have published.

"You want to look at their credentials: Where they go to school, what sort of licenses do they hold," she said. "How long have they been in practice? Have there been any regulatory issues, and are they the right fit for you?"

Then you want to have an in-depth conversation with the advisor, Sun said.

Here are some questions she suggests asking advisors before you hire them:

  • What's your investment philosophy?
  • How do you feel about the market?
  • How much do you charge?
  • How often should I expect to hear from you?
  • When should I be calling you?
  • What do you think we can do together in good markets and bad markets?

You want to make sure your advisor works at a pace with which you're comfortable. "A financial advisor should work at your tempo," Sun said.

Whatever you do, don't wait too long to hire an expert, she added. "I don't know about you, but I want to make sure I will reach my retirement goals."