How to Choose a Financial Advisor


In the midst of all of the economic turmoil, everyone is scrambling to get advice. How can I protect my assets from further loss in a declining market? Can I still plan on retiring when I thought? Are there year-end tax strategies I should be considering?

If you ask different people, you’ll get other answers. Who is your broker? Your tax preparer? Your attorney? Who is handling your life insurance? You can get financial advice from about anywhere, but how can you tell if it’s good or just more noise? What if your advisors disagree with you?

This is my experience as a certified financial planner who has worked in the private sector since the 1980s. An investor who relies solely on advice from their stockbroker may accumulate wealth over time but be ill-equipped to use it when it comes time to retire.

Investors who have employed the services of a stockbroker, accountant, insurance agent, and attorney as a team may have received expert advice. Still, it is possible that this advice was not uniformly applied. So long as the market held up, their deductions were maximized, their insurance needs were met, and their estate plans were finalized, they were comfortable with their financial situation. Then, one day, they realized they had been working against each other as a team due to a lack of communication.

This is an example of the norm. It’s possible that a stockbroker advised their client to buy and sell high-yielding stocks and bonds without considering tax consequences. An accountant can miss a client’s additional tax liability until after the tax year has ended if they are unfamiliar with the financial products in question. Legal counsel who drafted a will may not be aware of changes to a client’s financial situation, such as creating a new IRA or the designation of a beneficiary.

Because of this, I think investors must consult with a certified financial planner, an unbiased expert who has completed extensive training and education to earn the CFP designation and is well-versed in handling all facets of a client’s economic life. A CFP works with other professionals, such as a stockbroker, accountant, and lawyer, to ensure everyone is on the same page.

A Certified Financial Planner, unlike a stockbroker, is selling you a service rather than a commodity. Independent and objective advice and a written, personalized plan with targeted asset allocation strategies are provided by a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) after an in-depth consultation and analysis of your financial history and obstacles. Your retirement savings and significant debts are the main points of interest. Your age, career trajectory, tax burdens, and estate planning requirements are all considered. To rephrase, they take a rounded approach. They take a holistic approach rather than pushing cookie-cutter investment strategies.

Have a lot of concerns about your money? The time spent consulting with a CFP® professional could prove to be the most worthwhile investment you make all year.

Here’s What I Know To Be True:

What am I missing? Many advertisements for financial advisors confuse me because they list their titles as chartered advisers, independent investment consultants, financial planners, certified retirement planners, etc. Where can I find out which credentials matter?

A. Although there are many routes to becoming a licensed financial professional, only a Certified Financial Planner has completed the extensive coursework and passed the comprehensive exam required to earn the CFP designation. It takes many years of study and rigorous testing to earn this credential, and candidates must demonstrate expertise in tax law, retirement and estate planning, and investment products. They must also attend classes and progress toward continuing education credits to maintain their credentials. Finally, they must document and disclose their credentials, fees, and impartiality per a code of ethics.

Although it would be great to work with a CFP, the current state of my finances makes it unlikely that I will be able to do so. How much do their services cost?

A. First, most planners offer a free consultation to determine if they are a good fit for your needs and if they will be transparent about their fees. Second, a financial planner is the type of person who is likely to have a deep understanding of the topic of prices. That’s why it’s OK to inquire about fees; they’re happy to share that information. Some financial planners charge clients a percentage of their services’ annual income, net worth, or managed assets. The average rate is 1%, but that can change depending on where you live, how big the firm is, and how complicated your case is. Some businesses operate on a fee-plus-commission basis, where investment-related commissions offset the fee. The fee plus commission structure’s benefit is that the CFP has the incentive to keep an eye on how the portfolio they helped you build is doing.

How can I locate a local certified financial planner?

A. Visit, the website of the Financial Planning Association, to conduct an online search. Find local CFPs with experience in areas like asset allocation, budgeting, retirement, estate planning, etc., quickly and easily with the help of these resources.

Our company differs from the rest because we include money management and financial planning in our fee, allowing us to provide you with up-to-date advice and seamlessly incorporate it with your investment strategies.

Financial resource management entails considering factors such as asset allocation, performance, risk, volatility, portfolio adjustments, and year-end tax planning.


Should my asset allocations change as I get older?

A. Yes. Consider how long you have until retirement and how much money you plan to invest. Certain financial products should be incorporated into the allocations near the withdrawal time to reduce volatility and risk and increase the dividend income provided by the portfolio. Increasing the bond percentage in the port is the accepted norm. It used to be shares of stock and bonds. A different way of thinking Real estate, gold, natural resources, long-short funds, inflation-adjusted bond funds, and even hard assets like timber are just some examples of the many asset classes that have allowed for the development of novel methods for improving the diversification of investment portfolios. When stock prices rise, bond prices will not follow suit. This time they all fell simultaneously, highlighting the urgency of the search for assets that provide genuine diversification and cushion the effects of market swings. Make adjustments to account for the ups and downs of different asset classes.

The rule of thumb no longer applies. The percentage of stocks and bonds in a port used to be calculated by subtracting the investor’s age from 100 or 110. Nonetheless, the population is living longer, and their port. Been damaged by market decline, there is an increasing need to protect what you’re saving by finding ways to reduce volatility, and what we’re doing now is developing strategies on an annual basis that adapt to market conditions regardless of clients’ ages to have the most excellent flexibility and enable the portfolios to adjust to the opportunity as it presents itself, as different sectors will recover at different timetables.


To what extent can I reduce my tax bill by making moves before the end of the year?

A. Taking capital losses on your portfolio, offsetting capital gain and loss, and using the installment method is just four of five year-end tax strategies that could help you reduce your income or potential tax on capital gains.

Consider the options for capital gains, tax deductions, and loss write-offs. You should model your potential taxable income, capital gains, and losses.

ARS Financial Services, Inc. was founded by Lee Rosenberg, a Certified Financial Planner with over 34 years of experience. Lee is one of the top 25 Independent financial advisers in the United States, and he works for Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc. as a registered representative.

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