|The concept of financial planning has become diluted as securities, insurance, and banking institutions attempt to reconfigure their products and themselves to fit a more client-centered approach. Many of these companies claim to offer comprehensive services; however, they offer piecemeal combinations of products and services, and the skills of their purveyors vary greatly. How, then, do you evaluate so many disparate claims? |
Assess the financial service provider's commitment to helping you achieve your goals and objectives as defined by you -- not by what fits the provider's needs.
Evaluate the overall process used by the financial service provider in developing your financial game plan. The Certified Financial Planner Board, which regulates licensed certified financial planners (CFPS), has approved the following six-step process:
Take special note of step 4. Most financial service providers have a specific product to sell and may not tell you about other available products, even if they are a better fit for you. Put it this way: A Lexus dealer won't sell you a BMW. When considering a financial planning firm, make sure there is no hidden agenda.
Evaluate the scope of the financial service provider's services. A comprehensive financial game plan should generally include the following topics:
Review the credentials of financial service providers in relation to the services they offer. For comprehensive planning, a CFP license is a good basic credential. Designations indicating expanded expertise, such as attorney, certified public accountant, a master's degree in financial planning, chartered financial consultant (ChFC), or charted life underwriter (CLU), show additional depth in the provider's skills.
Make sure that the financial service provider has significant and direct experience in developing plans for individuals in your specific profession. Your chosen career path will create specific challenges throughout the various phases and elements of your plan, and your financial service provider should understand them.
Most important, examine how you feel after you leave your financial service provider's office. Do you understand everything that was discussed? Are you excited about your financial future? Do you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing where you are financially, where you are going, and how you will get there? Do you feel confident that your goals will be achieved?
A competent, professional financial planning firm integrates your professional, personal, and economic goals into a truly comprehensive financial game plan that accurately reflects your values and vision for the future. Your plan needs to be regularly updated to incorporate the professional, personal, economic, and government-legislated changes that occur each year. If your financial service provider does not deliver this level of service or falls short in one or all of these areas, you may want to consider choosing another provider to ensure you attain your investment plans.
|Title:||CPA, CFP, MS|
|Company:||Mercer Global Advisors (MGA)|
|Address:||11100 NE 8th Street, Suite 320|
|Bellevue, WA 98004|
|Phone # for sales:||888 642 4636|
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