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How To Find A Great Financial Advisor?

When searching for a financial advisor, there are a number of steps to take in finding an advisor who will be great for your situation. First, make a list of the criteria you require in an advisor. The criteria can include: professional investment and financial planning experience, investment performance, compensation structure (Fee only is best. Watch out for Fee-based advisors. They earn commissions on products sold, but are trying to make themselves sound like Fee-only.), credentials, frequency of contact and willingness to develop a long-term fulfilling relationship for both parties. Furthermore, does your potential advisor have investment research capabilities and services such as The Bloomberg Professional Investment Research Service and Morningstar Principia Pro Plus and/or Morningstar Workstation to analyze individual equities and mutual funds respectively?

Evaluate your future advisor by asking him the following questions: “How frequently will you contact me?” The answer should be usually “monthly”. The next question is, “How long does it take to respond to client inquiries?” The answer should be “usually within twenty-four (24) hours.” Will the advisor provide investment tax planning services as well as calculate the cost basis information on securities in addition to preparing the investment gains and losses information for income tax reporting purposes? How often will your advisor report performance (a percentage gain or loss on the amount being managed)? Quarterly reporting is the norm. Brokerage statements don’t report performance. Also, The Securities and Exchange Commission requires advisors to provide clients with their ADV part II upon signing a contract.

Other tips include, avoid advisors who are employed by Wall Street brokerage houses. These brokerages continually are being fined by government agencies and sued by ex-clients for securities manipulation and fraud. Most brokers are not crooks, but many sell very expensive managed money accounts, which significantly reduces an investor’s return. The SEC, NASD and the Pennsylvania Securities Commission should be contacted to determine if the advisor has had any securities violations. Avoid one-product-solution advisors, such as individuals selling annuities only or life insurance for every problem. Banks have their conflicts as well. Frequently, their bias is in the form of attempting to sell mutual funds which they own or those with high commissions. Even in their trust departments, banks frequently recommend only large U.S. stocks and bonds, not exactly a formula for success in the next decade due to the high valuations of stocks and the fact that rising interest rates will harm bond values. It is always better to create a relationship with an advisor that is “advice-driven”.

Furthermore, does the potential advisor provide you with comprehensive financial planning services, such as income tax planning and projections, education funding planning, retirement planning, survivor planning, employee stock option analysis, estate plan document reviews, and if applicable, philanthropic guidance? Does your advisor perform analysis of your auto, homeowners and umbrella liability insurance? The best advisors provide these services.

If the answer to most or all of these questions is no, then you should think about searching for a new financial advisor. A great source to find an unbiased advisor is The National Association for Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). All of NAPFA’s advisors are screened for the problems mentioned above. Best of all, NAPFA advisors are compensated on a fee-only basis. To search for a NAPFA advisor go to www.napfa.org or call their toll free number (800) 483-5415.

For further information, contact Diane M. Pearson, CFP™ at (412) 635-9210 or e-mail her at legend@legend-financial.com.



INDEX
  • BUYING A VARIABLE ANNUITY IS USUALLY PROBLEMATIC: SKY HIGH EXPENSE RATIOS CAN SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACT FUTURE RETURNS NEGATIVELY
  • Five Steps When You Inherit Assets
  • How To Spell Estate Tax Relief
  • One Last Shot At A Tax Exemption
  • 5 Ways That Can Help You Pay For Higher Education
  • Seven Smart Money Moves You Should Make In 2017
  • Sticking With The Fundamentals
  • 17 Midyear Tax Moves You Still Can Make In '17
  • A Quick Overview Of Preferred Securities
  • Weigh Five 401(k) Options When Leaving A Job
  • Locate A Tax Shelter Near A School
  • How To Improve Chances For College Financial Aid
  • What Would You Do For A Bigger Salary Or More Benefits?
  • 7 Late Moves To Cut Taxes This Year
  • Seven Good Reasons To Create And Fund A Trust
  • A Good Time To Remember How Long-Term Investors Must Think
  • Remember The Lesson Of Rebalancing
  • Section 529 Plans Keep Getting Better And Better
  • Three Ways You Can Play Good Stock Market Defense
  • When Can You Reconvert To A Roth?
  • 8 Compelling Tax Reasons For Roth IRA Conversion
  • Steer Clear Of These 7 Traps For IRA Owners
  • Make Sure That You Comply With All The RMD Rules
  • How A Financial Advisor Can Help
  • Rising Housing Prices May Be Sign That New Bubble Is Forming
  • After Five Great Years For Stocks, What's Next?
  • What Are Latest Trends In Prenups?
  • The Three Biggest Financial Mistakes That You Can Make
  • 4 Of The Main Reasons To Keep Your Bypass Trust
  • Seven Steps After A Spouse's Sudden Death
  • 7 Expired Tax Breaks That Were Given A Longer Life
  • Will Record Profit Margins Upend The Bull Market?
  • 14 Top Year-End Tax Moves For Individuals In 2014
  • Be An Elephant And Downplay Talk Of Bulls And Bears
  • Five Financial Vows For Newlyweds
  • Will Record Profit Margins Cause Stock Prices To Plunge?
  • Ins And Outs Of Nondeductible IRAs
  • Identifying Investment Risk And Coping With It
  • How Best To Leave IRAs To Your Grandchildren
  • 4 Tips For Assembling A College Savings Plan
  • Don't Be Shocked If Your Tax Deductions Are Slashed
  • 2013 Was A Poor Year For Diversification
  • Risk Rose Slightly In January, But Has Decreased In February
  • Expenses And Behavior Are Key To Investment Success
  • Five-Year Returns Show Why Diversification Is Key
  • Where Can You Invest For Safety?
  • Perspective On Stock Market Trends
  • Find Extra Benefits In DI Insurance
  • Crash Course On Paying For College
  • A Realistic Look At A Hot Topic: Dividend Stocks
  • Don't Ignore These Tips About TIPS
  • Investors Flee Stocks At Precisely The Wrong Time
  • Take A Closer Look At Your RMDs
  • 10 Reasons For The IRS To Flag Your Return
  • Economic Growth Set To Slow Down Around The Globe
  • Where Will You Live After You Retire?
  • Muni Bonds May Show Gains As Tax Increases Approach
  • Two Investment Principles In Tandem
  • Is It Finally Time To Refinance?
  • Do You Understand Investments?
  • The Best Way To Gauge If The Market Is Overvalued
  • Should You Take Social Security Early Or Late?
  • Identity Theft In The New Year
  • Preserving Assets For Generations To Come
  • Managed Futures Mutual Fund Update
  • Give Away Gifts With No Gift Tax
  • Saving For Retirement
  • 21 Shocking But True Statistics About Retirement
  • Why You Shouldn't Do Your Own Estate Planning
  • Take The Time To Give Lifetime Gifts
  • What Does The Downgrade Of U.S. Debt Really Mean?
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  • What Do You Want Your Legacy To Be?
  • Breaking Up Doesn't Have To Be Hard
  • Do You Have An Administrative Trustee?
  • Will The New Financial Reform Law Benefit You?
  • Roth Conversion Can Hurt College Aid
  • Do Second-To-Die Policies Merit A Second Chance?
  • It's NOT The Economy, Stupid!
  • Biggest Estate Tax Problem? Income Tax
  • The Ins And Outs Of Lifetime Gifting
  • What To Do If Your College Savings Plan Is Battered
  • Identifying And Fixing The Global Economy's Woes
  • Uncle Sam Changes Financial Aid Rules
  • Retirees Eligible For Many Tax Cuts In Recovery Act
  • Funding College Savings Plans For A Grandchild
  • An Update On College Savings Plans
  • Five Smart IRA Ideas For Pre-Retirees
  • Does Your 529 College Savings Plan Match Up?
  • A Reverse Mortgage For Mom And Dad
  • Tax Pros And Cons Of Municipal Bonds
  • How The Bankruptcy Law Affects Wealthy Individuals
  • Limits of Family Limited Partnerships
  • They Don't Call 'Em Trusts For Nothing
  • The Roth 401(k) - Is It Right For You?
  • Planning Ahead A Couple Of Generations
  • Use FLPs To Transfer Assets And Cut Estate Taxes
  • What You Need To Know About The AMT In 2008
  • Coping With Estate Tax Uncertainties
  • Thinking of Remarrying? Think Prenup
  • Many Americans Fail To Take Care Of Financial Basics
  • Beware Of Social Security Identity Theft
  • Regulatory Guidelines Update
  • Energy Systems Scale and Timeline
  • Free Credit Reports Available Online
  • Don't Forget About Roth 401(k)
  • The Oil Patch Profit Squeeze
  • Understanding the Importance of a Fiduciary Standard
  • Timber As A Liquid Investment
  • Emerging Market Food Consumption Growth Equals Rising Prices
  • Ethanol: Salvation or Panacea?
  • Timber Facts
  • Bank Loan Funds - A Primer
  • The Dangers of Medical Identity Fraud
  • A Primer On Managed Futures
  • REITS: A Very Good Portfolio Diversifier, But Should You Invest In Them?
  • Does Investing Internationally Still Diversify Your Portfolio?
  • Another Way To View The Current Valuation Of REIT Sector
  • Understanding Risk-Preparing For The Unseen
  • Why Not Alternative Fixed Income Investments?
  • How Dangerous Is A Dollar Crash?
  • What Is Shorting Expense?
  • How Volatile Can The Stock Market Be?
  • GMO 7-Year Asset Class Return Forecast Is Bleak
  • Too Many ''Phish'' In The Sea
  • The Case For Industrial Metals
  • Ways To Improve The Score
  • Know The Score
  • Total Credit Market Debt (All Sectors) As % Of U.S. GDP
  • To Reinvest Or Not To Reinvest
  • Just How Expensive Is The Market?
  • Beware of Brokerage Firms' Misconduct
  • Identity Theft : Correct Those Credit Reporting Errors
  • Risk-Controlled Investing
  • What Do Rising Interest Rates Mean For Money Market Yields?
  • Q & A With Robert Arnott
  • Identity Theft : Applying For Credit? Better Check Your Credit Report First
  • Identity Theft: Everyday Prevention
  • Identity Theft: Help Is On Its Way
  • Identity Theft: Tips to Protect Yourself
  • Identity Theft: A Note About Social Security Numbers
  • Identity Theft: What Documents Should You Shred Or Store?
  • Identity Theft : Don't Fall For That E-Mail!
  • Identity Theft : One More Reason To Protect Your Credit
  • Section 529 Plans Are Popular But Not The Only Way To Go
  • Exit Gracefully: How Business Owners Should Plan For A Comfortable Retirement
  • The Importance Of Commodities In A Portfolio
  • A Tale Of Two Hedges
  • What Is Risk?
  • How To Find A Great Financial Advisor?
  • Is It Time To Find A New Financial Advisor?
  • 4 Steps To A More Secure Investment Portfolio For Your Retirement
  • Traditional Investing May Decrease Your Retirement Lifestyle
  • Year-End Tax Planning Can Help Generate High Return On Investment
  • Is Your 401(k) Plan A Failure?
  • Understanding Deflation
  • Tax Issues To Consider When Buying A Long-Term-Care Policy
  • Evaluating The Quality Of A Company's Earnings
  • Investing In Times Of Uncertainty And Risk: The Importance Of Diversification
  • 2001 Tax Relief Act Changes Education Planning
  • Yesterday's Great Companies
  • A Retirement Plan Primer After The 2001 Tax Act
  • Beware Of Common Home Repair Scams
  • Custodial Accounts: One Way To Make Gifts To Children
  • Estate Taxes To Be Reduced Then Repealed In 2010
  • Faulty IRA Conversions Can Lead To Tax Penalties
  • Many Individuals Pay Private Mortgage Insurance Beyond When It Is Necessary
  • Rethinking Estate Planning
  • Retirement Plan Contribution Limit Changes
  • Shopping For A Bank Account That Pays The Highest Possible Rate Of Interest
  • Early Retirement Incentives For Tenured Faculty Waives Fica Tax Payment
  • Do It Yourself Tax Preparers Watch Out: Tax Answers From IRS Centers Oftentimes Are Incorrect And/Or Insufficient
  • Your Medical File Report May Need A Check-Up
  • Five Tips For Preventing Thefts From Your Checking Account
  • Home Office Deductions: Hoops To Jump Through
  • Income Tax Effect On Single And Married Taxpayers
  • Income Tax Planning For Investments
  • Property Tax Challenges Should Not Be Overlooked
  • The IRS Will Follow Your Wealth To The Ends Of The Earth
  • When Do You Need Life Insurance
  • REITs: A Great Diversification Investment
  • Bank Loan Funds: A Great Fixed Income Investment As Interest Rates Rise
  • Estate Tax Will Be Reduced Gradually, Then Repealed in 2010



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