Certified Financial Planner Near Me
Best Certified Planner for High Net Worth Individuals
Pretty much anyone can file a business license and call themselves a financial advisor, but only with a certified financial planner (CFP) professional can you have the assurance that you’re working with a trained professional you can trust. The “trust” refers to their ability to deliver the performance and financial security you need with full credibility. If you are an ultra-high net worth individual looking for a qualified financial advisor, click here to read our guide on how to find a financial advisor for families with $5 million and more in liquid assets.
STRATEGIES FOR FAMILIES WORTH $5 MILLION TO $500 MILLION
7 Secrets To High Net Worth Investment Management, Estate, Tax and Financial Planning
The insights you’ll discover from our published book will help you integrate a variety of wealth management tools with financial planning, providing guidance for your future security alongside complex financial strategies, so your human and financial capital will both flourish.
Clients frequently share with us how the knowledge gained from this book helped provide them tremendous clarity, shattering industry-pitched ideologies, while offering insight and direction in making such important financial decisions.
Table of Contents
7 Steps to Finding The Best Certified Financial Planner Near Me
1. Use a search engine
Before going to the Internet for information, you can talk to people you know, your colleagues, friends, and family members. Someone you know may recommend a financial planner that could meet your objectives.
Besides asking for referrals from within your network, you can get a lot of information online about financial planners near you. However, many financial advisors work remotely, which means they don’t have to be located near you. Location may not matter to you.
You can narrow your search to those planners that offer the services you’re looking for, with a compensation structure that meets your needs. You can also search for planners who have the credentials you are looking for.
2. Be aware of the types of advisors
Not all financial advisors are the same. Before deciding on an advisor with whom you would like to work, it’s important to know that the advisor is able to provide the services on which you want to focus.
In general, there are three types of advisors: One type focuses on financial planning; the second has a focus on investment advice, and the third will specialize in retirement planning. Of course, some advisors have expertise and experience in all three areas or in two of them.
Think about which of your current goals are the most important. Your main concern may be to plan for a secure retirement. You may want to save more, and you have money to invest to grow that wealth for the future. You may need some help with budgeting, buying life insurance, or planning your estate, which fall in the category of financial planning.
3. Determine credentials
You will naturally want to hire a financial advisor who is qualified to deliver the services that you’re looking for.
For example, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) has the education, expertise, and ethics that you would expect from a financial professional (Other certifications are PFS and CFA). These professionals have reached a level of education that qualifies them to work with clients. Their certification may require them to acquire on-going education.
Certified professionals are required to have spent time as an apprentice in order to be qualified to work with clients. They are usually required to follow certain rules of ethics and standards of behavior, such as a fiduciary standard.
A fiduciary advisor will always put the best interests of their clients above their own.
4. Understand their fee structure
In selecting an advisor, you want to know what they charge for their services so you can judge whether what you get is worth what you pay.
The two types of compensation structures are “fee-based” and “fee-only.”
The income earned by a fee-only advisor consists only of the fees their clients pay. They do not have incentives from the company where they work, such as bonuses for meeting sales quotas. They do not earn commissions for selling certain products. Fee-only advisors are usually fiduciaries.
A fee-based advisor will have income from other sources than what their clients pay in fees. Thus, they can be motivated by their own interests over those of their clients.
You may pay a percentage of the value of assets that the advisor will manage for you, as a yearly fee; an hourly fee for each consultation, or a flat fee per month or per year.
5. Know what questions to ask
Once you’ve short-listed a few advisors that appear to meet your requirements, it’s best to have a conversation with them to test the waters. You will want to clarify whether or not a particular advisor is someone with whom you’ll be able to work with for the long term. Are you able to communicate easily? Is this someone who understands your needs and financial goals? As you discuss your goals, the advisor will be able to present some of their ideas about how they would proceed to help you meet your goals. Do they seem knowledgeable and experienced in the areas that matter to you?
After getting a general idea about working together, you should ask specific questions about their fee structure and the services they provide.
6. Check credentials
Before hiring an advisor, check their credentials. The organization where the advisor is a member will verify their credentials. The organization may be the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or another organization such as the CFP board.
The advisor’s membership organization will also track their complaint history. The SEC can advise you of any conflicts of interest the advisor may have. You can ask the advisor for a Form CRS, which discloses information about the firm or advisor’s compensation.
If the advisor is a member of FINRA, then the FINRA website can provide information about the advisor and any complaints made against them.
7. Be aware of fraud risks
It’s critical to know who will have access to your assets and investment accounts. Make sure that the advisor you are interested in hiring uses what’s called a “third-party custodian” to hold your investments. This will usually be a big reputable firm such as Fidelity or Schwab. Your advisor will be able to effect transactions in your accounts but not have direct access to your funds. Only your signature requested by the custodian can result in changes to your funds.
Another potential source of problems involves conflicts of interest between your advisor and other firms in which the advisor may have an interest. Go to the SEC to check the advisor’s disclosure documents.
You might want the best financial advisor near you. Or, you might feel that location doesn’t matter, which in most cases, it does not.
Talk to your final list of CFP professionals. Ask the questions given earlier. Learn their legal processes. See if you get along, and then make your decision!
The best way to find out is to ask. The fees you pay may include paying hourly for services, a flat fee on a yearly basis, or a percentage of the value of the assets that are managed by the advisor.
For someone who does not have a good understanding of the economy and financial markets, then hiring a CFP is a good idea as long as the fees you pay will be less than the returns you earn.
Both of these designations reflect a high level of knowledge, expertise, and experience in financial planning. They represent somewhat different levels of education.
A certified financial planner (CFP) is qualified to provide financial planning services, whereas an MBA is a university-level two-year degree program that covers all aspects of business, including marketing and business management.
Both planners and advisors provide financial services such a retirement planning and asset management. However, a planner may focus more on their clients’ long-term financial goals.
You can find a financial planner through your network of friends and family members, some of whom may be able to recommend a planner. You can find a planner online.
Someone you know may recommend an excellent planner. You can find recommendations online and do research on the planners that appeal to you. Check their credentials and discuss your goals with them.
It’s worthwhile if you are not comfortable managing your assets, or it gets too complicated, and you need an expert. Your returns should be greater than 1%, which you can expect from a good advisor.
There are a lot of terms in the financial services business, and many of them overlap. So, while you will hear terms like a financial advisor, wealth manager, wealth advisor, investment manager, and financial planning consultant, it is the ‘certified’ element that gives you at least single external criteria with which to verify that you are dealing with a professional. Pillar Wealth Management is owned by two elite financial planning advisors, Hutch Ashoo and Christopher Snyder, and we serve high net worth and ultra-high net worth families and investors who have at least $5 million in liquid investable assets. Click here to arrange a free consultation with us if you fall into this category.
If you have less than that, use this free resource anyway, because it will answer a lot of your questions about your personal financial planning. You will also find a treasure trove of insight in our free guide, The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Financial Advisor, for Investors With $5 Million to $500 Million in Liquid Assets
This article is going to talk about the 7 important reasons why you should choose the best CFP for your retirement financial planning in the long-term run. Plus, you are also given the 11 questions that are frequently asked related to CFP professional. Let’s talk about it.
7 Reasons to Find a Certified Financial Planner Near Me
1. Poor Investment Performance
Poor performance can go in two directions. On one hand, your financial planner can cause you to miss out on rewarding investment gains by recommending too conservative an approach.
When the market is crashing, conservative investing seems smart. But a CFP professional should be working to help you full time achieve your long-term financial goals – even if they are decades away. Even if they won’t be achieved until after you die.
On the other hand, and far more common, investors get stuck with a financial planning advisor who is too aggressive and reckless.
We have seen some high net worth friends working with other advisors lose 70%, even 80% of their wealth in a short time because of horribly misguided investment planning that didn’t fare well in a recession.
Ted Turner the one that famously lost over 80% of his wealth in one year when AOL-Time Warner fell apart. He lost over $8 billion. Many would blame the merger, but we would blame his financial planning team.
How important is it to get a fiduciary planner, and how seriously does Pillar take this commitment? See how a non-fiduciary can leave you stressed, frustrated, and financially constrained.
2. Unwise and Risky Asset Allocations
Asset allocation is the most important factor in investment planning. By far. But it changes over time. What works for you when you’re 45 might not be appropriate when you’re 55.
The best financial advisor should take a proactive guidance to keep you informed and involved in any important changes and decisions.
To learn more about this, click here to read our guide on the 5 critical shifts that contribute to portfolio performance.
3. No Reliable Process in Long Term Financial Security
You need to find a CFP professional who has developed their own process – with data to back up its efficacy – for achieving what you care about most financially.
Demand a detailed explanation from any financial planner or wealth manager – CFP or not – for how they will deliver the assurance of performance and security that you seek.
What is Pillar’s process? You have two ways to see it in enough detail to really get your mind around how different it is from every other wealth manager or fiduciary planner.
First – get our free guide, Improving Portfolio Performance, The Shifts Multi-Millionaires Must Make to Achieve Financial Security and Serenity.
Second, give us a call if you have a minimum of $5 million in investable assets.
Talk to an Ultra-High Net Worth Certified Financial Planner
4. Scaled Down Lifestyle with No Time to Make Up Losses
Imagine losing 70% of your wealth when you’re 70 years old because your financial professional had you in a 60% stock 40% bond asset allocation and the market collapsed. See why a 60/40 split failed in the Covid Recession. At age 70, you will likely never make up those losses in time. You, and your heirs after you, will be forever hurt by them. Don’t make the mistake of choosing the wrong financial advisor. See why a 60/40 split failed in the Covid Recession.
How to choose the best certified financial professional planner for you? We offer again the best resource we have ever seen for this purpose: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Financial Advisor, for Investors With $10 Million to $500 Million in Liquid Assets.
5. Pay More Taxes than You Should Have
The wrong financial professional planner will fail to consider the enormous amounts of money you can save simply by minimizing or avoiding certain taxes.
Suppose an irresponsible advisor earns you 12% growth one year, but you have to pay 40% of that in taxes. Then, suppose a CFP professional earns you 10%, but you only pay 20% in taxes.
For the first advisor, your net growth will only be 7.2%, because you lost the rest in taxes. The CFP, even with lower overall growth, earned you a net increase of 8%.
6. Your Heirs Can’t Access Your Records
If your financial planner doesn’t set things up properly for your insurance, your heirs can be locked out of your financial records and have to waste massive and frustrating amounts of time trying to navigate the system and pick up the pieces.
The best certified financial planners will not assume you are taking care of estate planning issues. And the very best ones won’t charge extra for doing it for you.
Pillar includes that service and all others as part of our base fee because for high net worth families, this is not an optional service.
7. The Wrong Beneficiaries Receive Part of Your Estate
Even if your Certified Financial Planner helped create an estate plan for you, or if you did it yourself, you have to keep it current.
Things change. Divorce, early death, a child falling into trouble and deemed not responsible enough to handle receiving a large sum from you without conditions – these things happen all the time.
If you don’t keep your current personal estate plan, large portions of it may end up in the wrong hands, with disastrous consequences. The best certified financial planners don’t let this happen.
What’s Required to Become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?
CFP Board – Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.
The certified financial planner board of standards is known for its distribution in harnessing professional financial planners that set a high standard in serving the public. In doing so, the Certified financial planner Board designation to embrace the necessity for certification of Certified Financial Planning. This certification will prove that certified financial planner professionals offer the best service and put their client’s best interests as a top priority.
Certified financial planner Board sets a certification standard based on the “4 E” requirements in order to know that a certified financial planner is able to serve its customers with personalized advice so they can achieve their financial dreams. Take a look at these “four E “standards that a CFP professional must complete:
For the education requirement, CFP candidates are divided into two :
- Completion of financial planning coursework from CFP Board’s Program
- Has a Bachelor’s degree or higher from any major, and from an accredited university or college as its bachelor’s degree requirement.
This CFP exam consists of 170 questions in a form of a multiple-choice test and divided into two sessions (3 hours per session) in one day. If CFP candidates pass the CFP exam, it shows that he has the competency and knowledge needed in providing personalized advice for financial planning to achieve CFP certification.
As for the experience requirement standard, it requires either 4,000 hours experience of apprenticeship (need to meets additional program requirements) or 6,000 hours of professional financial planning experience. By providing these long hours of experience, it shows that a CFP candidate is able to offer financial planning advice independently.
All certified financial planners must agree and commit to following the fiduciary ethics requirement when giving any advice to a client. They must also adhere to a set of professional and ethical standards as the financial industry regulatory from FINRA in the United States. These include ‘fitness standards’, a Code of Ethics, and Standards of Conduct. You can access it on the FINRA website, just go ahead on the CFP board search toggle submit.
Some of the fitness standards say you can lose your certification if you are convicted of perjury within the last five years, or if you experienced two or more bankruptcies, whether business or personal.
Some of the codes and standards include avoiding or disclosing all conflicts of interest, conducting all your financial planning professional experience services with integrity and honesty, and “not be subordinated to personal gain or advantage.” There are many more of these. You can view the complete list of codes and standards here.
Once you become a CFP professional, you as the CFP Professionals must renew their certification from the CFP Board of Standards Inc. All Rights Reserved for, every two years.
11 Questions to Ask Your Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
1. What is your minimum asset requirement?
In other words, what types of clients do you work with? Some financial planners have ranges of investible interests they work with, such as from $250,000 to $1 million.
Pillar Wealth Management works with high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals who have between $5 million and $500 million.
For a deeper understanding of how high net worth financial planning looks and what it entails, read our signature written work, The Art of Protecting Ultra-High Net Worth Portfolios and Estates, Strategies for Families worth $25 Million to $500 Million.
Other financial planners might specialize in another area, such as businesses, or foundations, or a particular age group.
While others might specialize in a branch of financial planning, like tax planning or retirement planning.
2. What are your qualifications and credentials?
If they’re a certified financial planner, this question is how you can check them out. If you want to verify their claim, the best place to go is the Securities and Exchange Commission website.
Just type in their account name or the name of their investment companies, and see what comes up. You can see complaints that have been filed against these CFP professionals if any.
You can also verify a planner’s CFP status here.
3. How long have you been a financial planner?
Get a sense of their experience level and background check. But remember that while years of experience matter – particularly for high net worth financial planners like Pillar Wealth Management – being certified tells you quite a lot about this person and gives you the assurance they are competent and trustworthy.
4. How long do your clients stay with you on average?
This question reveals client loyalty. While it’s hard to verify their answer, it nevertheless provides another element of confidence in their abilities.
However, this question will reveal more if you ask it a year or two after a recession than it would eight years into a bull market. Remember – every financial planner is a genius when the market is doing well.
5. What do you do to minimize my costs, besides your fees?
You want to know what you’ll be paying, and how, for your certified financial planner’s services. But beyond that, realize that the fee is just a part of many costs you could be paying.
For instance, investing three million in a mutual fund with a 0.9% cost is very different from investing it in one with a 0.2% cost. That more expensive fund will need to outperform the other fund by 0.7% just to break even with it.
That’s a cost that has nothing to do with your financial planner’s fees.
There are many other costs like this, including additional ones that some planners charge. For instance, #6 on this list.
6. Will anyone else gain from how you advise me?
If your financial planner’s recommendations also benefit others with whom they have a business relationship, you need to know that.
This is another personal cost you could be paying. For instance, maybe your financial planner doesn’t charge commissions.
A fiduciary must disclose this, and must also be able to explain how it is still in your best interests, free from conflict of interest on their part.
Many, many other costs, that add up to far more than the base fee, can cost a high net worth of individuals tens of millions of dollars over their lifetime.
If you ask questions 5 and 6 and don’t feel like the CFP professional gives you a very full picture of these other costs, you should mark them with skepticism.
7. Will you be the only certified financial planner I’ll be working with?
When you call with a question, who will you speak to? Some financial advisors practice alone or with a partner or two, and they directly manage the relationships with their clients.
Others have teams of people working with a firm. You want to know who you’ll be dealing with, and when the key people on that team change.
You especially want to know who is developing your financial planning areas and making recommendations for your portfolio.
Pillar Wealth Management features two wealth professionals who directly manage all their client relationships, and each individual investor’s 100% customized financial plan.
8. How often do you update my financial plan?
What you don’t want is a ‘set it and forget it’ financial planner. You need someone who continually pays attention to your portfolio, and how it is being affected by world events, market forces, changes in your life, and its investment management performance.
Pillar Wealth Management updates every client’s financial plan four times per year.
9. Do you believe you can outperform the market?
This is a self-awareness question for your financial planner. They should tell you something about how few active traders or fund managers are able to outperform the market.
Over any period of three or more years, fewer than 10% of money managers are able to beat the market. Over longer periods, like for how long you’ll probably be working with your advisor, it is even lower.
If your financial planner tries to convince you they have figured out a system that consistently outperforms the market, you should regard them with extreme skepticism.
They were either very lucky for a year or two, or ignorant of history, or are over-promising.
You would hope that no certified financial planners would behave in this path or designations. But that’s why you ask the question.
10. How can you help me feel secure that my money won’t run out?
In other words – what is your approach to personal financial planning? For that, we’ll move to the next section.
But first – if you are a high net-worth investor, you might want to use these 4 additional questions about tax and estate planning links.
If a high net worth financial planner can’t satisfy you with good answers to those four questions, search elsewhere.
11. How to Start Planning with a CFP Professional?
Once you find a certified financial planner (CFP), hopefully using the questions above and the guide we’ve referred to several times, you’ll be ready to get started.
The initial process of financial planning begins with what you’re trying to achieve in your life. Almost every major goal, dream, or desire you have eventually related to money.
The best certified financial planners start here and build out your plan from there.
However, not every CFP practice has a truly 100% customized plan for their clients. Many offer a variety of menu options you can choose from, and they look at which CFP seems to fit you best.
They may then tweak it a little to help you. So, you could call that a semi-customized planning approach. But it’s not truly customized to your specific life goals and desired lifestyle outcomes.
Certified Retirement Planner
What Is a Certified Retirement Financial Advisor (CRFA)?
As you think about retirement, you may realize that the help of an expert would be beneficial to ensure that your retirement goals are met. A CRFA is an expert financial advisor who has the additional CRFA designation, which is given to someone who has the knowledge and expertise to provide in-depth financial advice for their clients who are planning for retirement.
The CRFA designation is issued by the Society of Certified Retirement Financial Advisors. The certification requires study, preparation, and passing an exam.
The CRFA will develop an understanding of your complete financial situation and work with you to meet your financial goals, including establishing an investment strategy, managing your taxes, and planning for your retirement.
Tips for Retirement Planning
Start saving for retirement as soon as you begin to earn a salary or regular income, regardless of the amount. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it accumulates.
Plan a budget. With a budget, you become very aware of all your expenditures. Always spend less than you earn, and save the rest. Think twice before making any purchase other that the necessities of daily life.
By tracking your expenditures, you will have a clear picture of how much money you need to meet your living expenses, which gives you an idea of what you need for retirement. So, building up your savings is vital.
As you begin to accumulate some wealth, consider hiring a financial planner to manage any investments you may be interested in. A certified professional can advise you on retirement planning too.
Pillar Wealth Management’s co-founder has over 60 years of delivering tailored financial planning services to high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals. For a free, no-obligation consultation just drop us a quick note here.
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