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What to look out for when looking for a financial professional

When deciding to employ the help of a financial professional, it’s a good idea to start with you and what you’re looking for. That will determine the best professional to provide you guidance. Its best to find someone who specialize in exactly what you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for help in retirement planning, investments, insurance, budgeting, estate planning, to name a few, then you should employ someone who offers specific resources catered to the area your seeking help in.  Their website, you-tube channel, social media pages, etc. should all reflect a plethora of information relating to their claim of specialty or focus.  Just a financial advisor, planner, or coach with no specific area of focus may not have the specialized knowledge or training for your particular area of need.  You wouldn’t visit a foot doctor if you are having eye problems, would you? No, you would go to an optometrist, right? Absolutely! They’re both doctors, but one has specialized knowledge in a particular area over the other.

Once you have narrowed down your financial expert who specializes in your need, then you want to check out their style of coaching so you can see if they are potentially a good fit for you. They should offer some resources that you can access to review. Some resources may include educational videos, articles, reports, books, eBooks, etc. Doing this will give you insight on their personality, coaching style, and business practices. You may also run across some of their past or current clients who have posted a review or made comments of endorsements relating to their experience with the professional.

Naturally you would want to check their experience/educational level. Most people assume it’s better to work with a more experienced professional but there are advantages to both ends of the spectrum. A more novel professional sometimes go the extra mile to make a good impression so they can earn your trust and referrals to help grow their business. On the other hand, a more experienced professional may be less flexible because they already have a book of business or flow of consistent referrals. In the financial industry, everything is constantly evolving and changing from year to year.  All licensed professionals are required to take continuing education classes every year or two to keep up with the vast changes in the industry. Therefore, don’t get caught up on educational level because theory is totally different when dealing with real life people all with different circumstances. Most of the best knowledge as it relates to finances are derived from the school of “the hard knocks” and good old experience in the field.  Ultimately, you want to find a professional who will make the time to focus on your concerns and is interested in growing with you.

Most financial planning will result in some type of product recommended such as an insurance plan, investment portfolio, mutual fund, college savings plan, to name a few. So, to make sure the best product is recommended to you, be sure that the financial professional is not a “captive” representative. Meaning they work for a particular company only and are only able to recommend that companies products. There are hundreds of Life Insurance Carriers and Investment firms that provide thousands of products that meet specific goals and needs. Therefore, you want a professional that is “independent” and have access to these products in the market. You want a representative to find a product that provides the best solutions to your problem; Not make your situation fit in one of the few products that only their company provides. Someone who can compare multiple plans from multiple A rated or above companies.

Try to find a professional who is unbiased. Often financial professionals tend to bash concepts or products that they don’t sell or offer. Remember the saying, “there’s someone out here for everyone”? Well, that saying holds true regarding different financial solutions in the market. Every concept or product is good when used within the right circumstances. Every professional should be able to provide an account of why they recommended a particular solution based on your specific problem and goals. These practices demonstrate a high standard of care and ethics. A professional who responds to your inquiries in a timely fashion is very important. 24 hours is a good turn-around period to expect a response. One who has a process to meet with you on a semi or annually basis to review your plan for any updates or necessary changes. A professional who exemplifies professionalism and good customer service always is a great quality to possess. Lastly, one who works with a team. Working with a team helps to ensure that your needs can be addressed even when the professional your use to working with is not available. Advisors who work by themselves can tend to get overwhelmed with their personal life or business in general. Having other professionals to step in when necessary is a great benefit.   These are all good qualities to look for when considering to build a relationship with a financial professional.

Hope this info helps!

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Your Best Tomorrow Starts Today!

Dr. Jovan Walker

Financial Coach of Hope


  1. Bablofil says:

    Thanks, great article.

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