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6 Questions You Should Be Asking When Hiring a New Financial Planner Thumbnail

6 Questions You Should Be Asking When Hiring a New Financial Planner

The role of a financial planner is to help you and your family figure out how to best save earnings, retain value, grow holdings and meet long-term financial goals. Planners should provide short- and long-term expectations with the same portfolio, which can be quite an undertaking. The value of the planner is that he or she provides the client an objective opinion of where best to put assets that will have the greatest likelihood of financial goal success.

Below are some important things to consider if you are looking to develop a relationship with a Financial Planner.  We have included our Firm's response to each of the questions in the event you would like to explore working with Reed Financial Planning Services, LLC.

Understanding the Role of a Financial Planner

Many people confuse a financial planner with a stockbroker, and then they find themselves playing the public market in ways that work against their goals. Further, planners are not public accountants; it is not their job to manage tax filings or track spending.

Because a planner acts as a professional adviser, they are often seen as filling in a gray area between the tax accountant and the brokerage trader. Some financial planners are also bridging the gap between CPAs and traders by offering investment management, tax solutions and full-service financial planning. That said, there are ways to make sure a planner is qualified to do the work needed for proper asset and wealth management. Here are seven questions that you should be asking when hiring a new financial planner. 

Question #1: How Long Have You Been Practicing?

While most planners are qualified, finding someone that you trust with your savings and the future of your financial path is incredibly important. Everyone needs to get a start somewhere, but finding someone with experience is key.

Reed Financial Planning Services, LLC has been working with clients like you for over 20 years.

Question #2: What Are Your Credentials?

Choose a financial planner who possesses the appropriate professional qualifications to meet your needs, such as the CFP® credential.  

Other credentials you may want to look out for include:

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
  • Retirement Management Analyst® (FMA®)
  • Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®)
  • Certified Retirement Counselor® (CRC®)

Note that although credentials can be impressive, make sure you take time to get to know the planner and see if you feel a connection with them.  Do they really seem to have your best interests in mind?  Do they listen to your needs are are they more interested in boasting about their firm's growth or their sales awards?  As with many things in life, listen to your gut!

Reed Financial Planning Services' Advisors have a variety of credentials to help fit our client's needs.  Those include an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF® ), Certified Estate Planner® (CEP® ), Certified Financial Planner ® (CFP®) and Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP® ).  We take a lot of time to get to know our clients, their families and their needs.  Then we develop life long relationships to advocate for our client's personal and financial well-being.  We also work in a fiduciary capacity when conducting our fee-based planning with our clients.  You can click on our team's page to learn more about our advisors.

Click here to learn more about our team

Question #3: What Is Your Niche?

Some financial planners may choose to work with a niche clientele - pre-retirees, doctors, educators, women, etc. Alternatively, some planners are more accommodating to helping everyone who meets some general criteria - regardless of age or profession. 

Finding a planner who works with others like you is a great way to make sure they will understand your specific needs and be familiar with options available to you. 

At Reed Financial Planning Services, we focus on a few important areas:

  • People who are nearing or entering into retirement and need to structure a retirement plan, create a portfolio for retirement income and discuss their legacy or estate planning strategies.
  • People who have inherited assets and retirement accounts and need to understand the rules regarding inherited assets.  These clients also need to understand the role the inherited assets play in their own financial planning.
  • Connecticut public school teachers.  We understand the Connecticut Teachers Retirement System, Social Security Offsets (Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset) and teachers retiree health insurance options. These all play important roles that are specific to Connecticut public school teachers when they develop their retirement and investment plan.

Question #4: Do You Have References?

It's always a good idea to check references of any professional before you begin working with them.  And if you're going to entrust someone with your hard-earned money and lean on this individual or firm for your financial well being, it could help to speak to someone who has worked with the firm before. 

At Reed Financial Planning Services, we have many clients that we have been working closely with for decades and would be happy to provide references.   

Question #5: What Is Your Planning and Investment Process?

Financial planning incorporates many different facets.  It includes short-term, mid-term and long-term goals.  It includes insurance, investments and estate planning strategies.  It means taking into account things like social security, Medicare and aging in retirement.  Lastly, financial planning is a life-long process, not a one-time event.

So it's appropriate to ask the person your considering about their process.  Do they have a well defined, time tested approach to planning and investing?  Do the areas that the planner focuses on match your needs?  Do their processes and services add value to your situation?  You might be surprised at the wide range of answers you will hear.  Make sure you partner with a financial planning firm that suits your needs and has a well-defined planning process.

At Reed Financial Planning Services, we have worked for years on developing and refining our planning and investment process.  It's an ongoing effort as our client's needs evolve and rules about planning and investing change. 

We have a defined intake, analysis, onboarding and review process.  You can learn more about our process by visiting our Working With The Firm page.  You can click on the link below to view that page;

Click here to visit our Working With The Firm page


Question #6: How Are You Compensated?

Transparency is important. Make sure your planner explains the fees clearly so you have a solid understanding of what you’re expected to pay and the services you will receive. If you are going to be working with a fee-only financial planner, they will be incentivized to provide advice and service that is in line with your goals. 

Reed Financial Planning Services is a fee-based planning firm. There are two ways to engage our services based on your needs. One is on an hourly fee consultant basis. We meet to discuss your investments, answer your questions and provide our advice. You can implement our suggestions on your own. The other is as a concierge client. This option is for clients with over $250,000 of investable assets who desire assistance in the implementation and management of their investments. Clients receive ongoing and proactive contact regarding their planning and investments. Meetings occur at a minimum of once a year at which time we review your current situation and make appropriate updates based on your needs. These meetings include a comprehensive evaluation of your retirement plan, care plan and legacy plan. Our relationship continues throughout your retirement. Concierge clients are charged a percentage of their assets managed by our firm. 

When it comes to planning for your future, a strong financial planner is an important part of this process. Hiring a trustworthy financial planner is something to take seriously.  Make a list of the questions that are important to you and then reach out to a few financial planners and start developing a relationship with someone who can help guide you towards fulfilling your retirement dreams.

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This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.