Who Should you Trust for Retirement Advice?

Planning for retirement is a complicated process that is often years in the making. With so many things to consider, no one should go it alone; however, many people are hesitant to seek advice because they are not sure who they can trust. How you determine who to trust will depend on a number of factors that we are more than eager to discuss with you.

Credentials Matter

A Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) is someone who meets the standards set forth by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP® Board). Only those who meet the requirements for education, experience, and ethics are allowed to sit for this organization’s certifying exam, which tests an applicant’s ability to apply knowledge to real-life financial planning scenarios. As such, someone with CFP® credentials has a well-rounded knowledge that can be used to customize a retirement planning program that will better suit your needs.

CFP Board of Standards

Once you have identified CFP®s in your area, your next move should be to contact the CFP® Board of Standards. This will help you verify certification and determine if there have been any complaints against a particular individual.

Interviewing Potential CFP®s

After identifying qualified retirement planners, your next move should be to set up interviews with a few of them. This has a two-fold purpose: allowing you to assess one’s qualifications and determining who you are best able to connect with. The latter is very important, as you will need to establish trust and cannot easily do so if you are unable to communicate freely. Some important questions to ask during an initial interview are:

  • How much experience do you have with retirement planning? Remember that CFP®s do more than just help people save for retirement, which is why finding someone who specializes in retirement planning is so important.
  • What is your typical client like? A CFP® may not be a good fit if he or she regularly sees people above or below your income level.
  • What are your fees and what are they based on? CFP®s may charge a flat rate, annual retainer, or earn a commission on any of the products they sell. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method of payment, so it is important you know what you are getting into ahead of time.
  • How often do you see your clients? Depending on how comfortable you are with retirement planning, you may wish to see your CFP® more often, and will need to make sure that person is available.

Finally, don’t forget to ask for the names of two or three references. Ideally, these should be people with approximately the same income, lifestyle, and retirement goals as you if possible.

Finding a trustworthy retirement planner is something that requires a great deal of thought and effort. With so much at stake, you can never be too cautious or ask too many questions. Your hard work will be rewarded not only with a greater return on your investment, but also by your enhanced peace of mind.