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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
  • Five Retirement Questions To Answer
  • Live Longer And Prosper In Your Golden Years
  • 6 Ways To Close The Retirement Gap
  • IRS Closes Valuation Loopholes
  • Passing Down IRA Assets? Clue In Family Members
  • This Type Of Trust Is A Failure
  • Grandparents Can Become Big Spenders For Their Offspring
  • Time Your Social Security Benefits For Top Results
  • Watch Out For These 7 Retirement Ups And Downs
  • Why Would Anyone Take Their RMDs Sooner?
  • 10 Frequent Retirement Mistakes You Should Avoid
  • Tax Rewards For Year-End Generosity
  • Meeting With The Family For Elder Care Planning
  • 20 Questions On Required Minimum Distributions
  • Tie The Knot For Retirement With A Spousal IRA
  • Four Retirement Planning Rules Of Thumb To Bend
  • When Will New College Grads Be Able To Retire?
  • Last Chance To File-And-Suspend Retiree Benefits
  • You Know You're Getting Old When You Get RMD Notice
  • 10 Steps To Take On The Path To Early Retirement
  • How To REALLY Get Ready For Your Retirement Years
  • Can You Skip Over The Special Tax For Generation-Skipping?
  • What Do You Think Your Life Will Be Like In Retirement?
  • Raiding A Roth Early? No Woes
  • Live Long And Prosper: Roll Out A Stretch IRA
  • Did The Devil Make You Do It? 8 Retirement Miscues
  • Ponder These 4 Reasons For Roth IRA Conversions
  • 10 Ways To Skirt A Penalty Tax On Plan Payouts
  • Why Give Securities To Charity Instead Of Cash?
  • Will You Have To Lower Your Sights In Retirement?
  • What Will $2 Million Get You In Your Retirement?
  • Figuring Out How Much You Need In Retirement
  • Should You Borrow Against A Life Insurance Policy?
  • How Will Your Retirement Distributions Be Taxed?
  • Five Ways To Plan Smarter And For The Long Haul
  • 5 Withdrawal Strategies For Retirement Savings
  • Five Ways To Plan Smarter And For The Long Haul
  • Generation X Members Have Retirement Work Cut Out For Them
  • Booted From A 401(k)? Don't Despair
  • It's Tough To Decide If You Should Retire Early
  • Saving For Retirement At All Ages
  • Which Type Of IRA Do You Prefer?
  • Owning REIT Shares Can Help Minimize Risk
  • Roundup Of New Estate Tax Changes
  • Here Are A Dozen Part-Time Jobs For Older Americans
  • Two More Important Choices For Retirement Living
  • Will Your Retirement Assets Last?
  • The Benefits Of Working With An Advisor
  • Setting Up A Roth IRA Through The ''Back Door''
  • Eight Of The Best Tax Strategies To Use In 2012
  • 10 ''Baby Steps'' To Take If You Are Newly Widowed
  • A Case Study: Retirement Planning In Your Fifties
  • Factors In Researching An Assisted Living Facility
  • New Wrinkle In Pre-59 1/2 IRA Withdrawals
  • A Case Study: Giving Wealth Away
  • Social Security's Online Benefits Estimating Tool
  • Estate Tax Exemptions Survive Longer
  • Will New Estate Tax Rules Lull You Into Inaction?
  • The Fine Art Of Planning For Collectibles
  • Five Tips To Manage Your 401(k) Wisely
  • A Comprehensive Way To Save For Your Retirement
  • Key Factors In Conducting Your 401(k) Vendor Search
  • Assessing The Damage To Pre-Retiree Financial Plans
  • Where Have Vacation-Home Prices Dropped The Most?
  • Giving Up Control Of Your Finances
  • Estate Tax Purgatory: How To Extricate Yourself
  • Cheap Thrills: 10 Ways To Enjoy Life In A Recession
  • Adjusting To The New Reality About Your Retirement
  • What Should You Spend First During Retirement?
  • Retirement Planning Does Not Stop When You Retire
  • Part-Time Job Hunting Tips for Retirees
  • Weighing The Benefits Of Investing In A Roth 401(k)
  • Keep A Leash On Part Of Your Estate
  • Pre-Retirees, Retirees Switch To Roth IRA
  • The Obama Bank Plan And The Risks It Poses
  • New Law Suspends RMDs For Just One Year
  • The Importance Of Year-Round Tax Planning
  • Charitable Giving Rules Changed By Pension Act
  • Market Gyrations Raise Questions For Pre-Retirees
  • Passing More Than Money To Your Heirs
  • How Many Years Should You Retain Your Tax Records?
  • Key Questions For Those Nearing Retirement
  • Retirement Planning Does Not Stop When You Retire
  • Dealing With Market Risk Right After Retirement
  • Nine Estate Planning Mistakes To Avoid
  • Family Foundation Lets You Do Good For Others And Yourself
  • Treating Your Retirement As A Liability
  • Beware Of Social Security Identity Theft
  • Regulatory Guidelines Update
  • Understanding the Importance of a Fiduciary Standard
  • Don't Forget About Roth 401(k)
  • Free Credit Reports Available Online
  • Energy Systems Scale and Timeline
  • The Oil Patch Profit Squeeze
  • Timber As A Liquid Investment
  • Timber Facts
  • Ethanol: Salvation or Panacea?
  • Timber Facts
  • Emerging Market Food Consumption Growth Equals Rising Prices
  • Bank Loan Funds - A Primer
  • 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
  • A Critical View Of The Consumer Price Index
  • What Is Shorting Expense?
  • How Dangerous Is A Dollar Crash?
  • 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
  • Identity Theft In The New Year
  • 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
  • Why Not Alternative Fixed Income Investments?
  • Just How Expensive Is The Market?
  • Beware of Brokerage Firms' Misconduct
  • Identity Theft : Correct Those Credit Reporting Errors
  • Risk-Controlled Investing
  • Q & A With Robert Arnott
  • Identity Theft : Applying For Credit? Better Check Your Credit Report First
  • Indentity Theft: Help Is On Its Way
  • Identity Theft: Everyday Prevention
  • Indentity Theft: Tips to Protect Yourself
  • Identity Theft : Tips to Protect Yourself
  • Identity Theft: A Note About Social Security Numbers
  • Identity Theft: Which Documents Should You Shred or Store?
  • Identity Theft : Don't Fall For That E-Mail!
  • Identity Theft : One More Reason To Protect Your Credit
  • What Do Rising Interest Rates Mean For Money Market Yields?
  • Exit Gracefully: How Business Owners Should Plan For A Comfortable Retirement
  • Section 529 Plans Are Popular But Not The Only Way To Go
  • The Importance Of Commodities In A Portfolio
  • A Tale Of Two Hedges
  • Bank Loan Funds: A Great Fixed Income Investment As Interest Rates Rise
  • REITs: A Great Diversification Investment
  • What Is Risk?
  • How To Find A Great Financial Advisor?
  • Is It Time To Find A New Financial Advisor?
  • Year-End Tax Planning Can Help Generate High Return On Investment
  • 4 Steps To A More Secure Investment Portfolio For Your Retirement
  • Traditional Investing May Decrease Your Retirement Lifestyle
  • 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
  • Yesterday's Great Companies
  • A Retirement Plan Primer After The 2001 Tax Act
  • Beware Of Common Home Repair Scams
  • 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
  • Early Retirement Incentives For Tenured Faculty Waives Fica Tax Payment
  • Retirement Plan Contribution Limit Changes
  • Shopping For A Bank Account That Pays The Highest Possible Rate Of Interest
  • Your Medical File Report May Need A Check-Up
  • Do It Yourself Tax Preparers Watch Out: Tax Answers From IRS Centers Oftentimes Are Incorrect And/Or Insufficient
  • 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
  • Under New Law Taking Social Security at 65 Makes Sense for Most
  • When Do You Need Life Insurance
  • Year-End Tax Defferal Planning



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