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What is a financial professional, what do they do, how to find a good financial professional, and more!

Working as a financial advisor has taught me that dealing with money can be one of the most stressful aspects of life. Similar to how you would not perform surgery on yourself, but go to an expert surgeon, it makes sense to seek out a financial professional to handle your finances. Someone with training, knowledge, and experience is always the better choice no matter what field of work you need service in. Why are your finances any different? Most people do not spend years studying money and investing, however, they still chose to manage their finances themselves. My career as a financial advisor, the years I have spent studying finances, and the work I've done has taught me so much more about money matters than what your average person is even aware of. 

A lot of people feel like wealth management is only for the uber-rich and that is simply not the case. Be it planning for retirement, finding ways to spend less, or setting up your finances to allow for more travel, a good financial professional can change your life! Working with the right financial professional can mean the difference between taking that trip to Paris or spending your vacation time at home. Buying your dream home or living paycheck to paycheck.

What is a financial professional?

What they do

A financial professional is someone who helps clients plan for their financial future. Often working as part of a firm or investment company, a financial professional works with clients to help them meet their specific goals.  A financial professional can help clients grow their savings, meet goals, and pay down debt.

There are years of education, experience, and training that go into being a financial professional. Handling people's money is not something that is to be taken lightly and that is why proper education is required. 

Ultimately, a financial advisor, such as myself, works to help clients manage their money. Or by creating passive income meaning that the clients let the money work for them. An example of passive income would be investments, savings accounts, or rental properties.  How they do this varies based on what their client is trying to accomplish. 

Types of financial professionals

There are many different types of financial professionals. It is important to find one that best fits your needs. Not all financial professionals are the same and they all have different areas of experience. Examining your needs can help you determine the type of professional you want to work with.

What does a financial PROFESSIONAL do?

It is more than making money!

Financial professionals are business professionals who have trained and studied how to handle wealth. We work with our clients to understand the specific needs of the client and help them plan to have healthy financial futures. Working as a financial advisor, my goal is always to make sure that my clients have the best possible outcome. 

A financial professional usually works as part of a team in the form of a financial firm or institution. This gives them more resources to be able to offer better service to their clients.

While building a relationship with their clients, a wealth manager will discuss what their goals are for the future and how they hope to spend their money.

Why does what someone plans to do with the money matter? Because someone who is planning for retirement will have more time and different options when compared to someone who is planning to buy a home in the next year. Likewise, a family with several small children will have different ambitions than a single person wanting to travel the world. Just like no two people are alike, no two financial situations are the same.

Let it grow!

Everyone could use a little more money.

And while money may not grow on trees, we do want to see the amount of money grow.

How a wealth manager will recommend growing your investments will vary greatly depending on your situation. Remember, you are trusting your money to someone who has spent a great amount of time studying and is experienced in what they do. Bring up any concerns or questions you have to your professional and they will be happy to discuss what the best path for you is.

How to find a good financial PROFESSIONAL?

I know I need a financial professional, how do I find one? 

As a financial advisor, I know there are a lot of ways to find a good financial professional. One of the best first steps in looking for a financial professional is to reach out to friends and family and ask for personal recommendations. You may find checking Google reviews to be a helpful way to get the feel for the type of relationships that the financial professionals have with their clients.

Your financial institution may be able to recommend someone if a personal recommendation is not available. Knowing the type of financial professional you are looking for can help narrow down the field of professionals based on their specialty.

Community Minded

One of the things I look for in working with another financial advisor is if they are invested in the community they work in.

Anyone who is invested in their community will naturally be more concerned with seeing the local economy flourish. As well as pouring back into the community! Hard numbers are great and an important part of choosing whom to work with but, so is knowing that someone is invested in the lives of those around them. A good financial professional will be involved in the community around them.

Spend time getting to know the person you are handing over your money to. Always trust your instincts! Do your research. Most firms provide a bio or background information on their professional. This can give you some insight into what kind of training or education they have had.

Plan an appointment to meet with a potential financial professional and discuss your needs with them. One of the things I find most help as a financial advisor when meeting with clients for the first time is when they are open and straightforward about the goals they have. It is a  necessary aspect in finding the right financial professional for you. For more information on what to expect in your first meeting with a financial professional see our other article here. If after having an initial meeting you are unsure if they are the financial professional for you, asking for references of past clients is perfectly acceptable. This can give you a better understanding of the type of financial professional someone will be.

Red flags to look for when talking with a financial PROFESSIONAL

What to watch out for!

Like any good business relationship look for any warning signs that things are not quite right. Common sense can be a great guide to follow. If something seems off this may not be the person you want to do business with. There is nothing wrong with trusting your instincts!

Any questions you ask should be answered in an upfront, direct manner and should be answered in the same way. As long as you are not prying into personal information or breaking another clients confidentiality a good financial professional should be able to answer any question you have within reason. I know, as a financial advisor, that even when I can not give a specific answer due to confidential I will explain that to my client.  

The fees and costs that are associated with working with a financial professional should be laid out for you in a straightforward manner. Make sure you understand what the cost you will incur when working with a financial professional and how those costs will be billed. It is unrealistic to expect that working with a financial professional will not cost anything, but you should be able to have at least an estimate after having a meeting with your financial professional.

Your best, No less.

If you are letting someone handle your money they must be working for your best interest. Not what will make the financial professional the most money, or what will benefit them, but genuinely what is the right money move for their clients. As a financial advisor my number one priority is my clients. 

This can be difficult to find especially if their professional has quotas to meet. Most independent firms do not have the pressure to “upsell” that can be seen with a franchise. It will be well worth it to invest the time to find the right fit for your money management needs.

A financial professional is trusted to make the best decision on behalf of their clients!

Recommendations, references, reviews are great ways to verify if a particular financial professional is someone you want to work with. As with any business, if someone can not provide at least a few happy customers this is a red flag.

If someone can not provide you with a good reference this is probably a sign that you should not be working with them. It is also critical to make sure that they have the proper licenses that are needed for your state. And what is required can vary depending on where you are located.

What Services does a financial PROFESSIONAL provide?

How can we help?

There is a wide range of services provided by financial professionals. Not all financial professionals offer all services and many are specialized in one area of service or another.

Some areas of service provided by financial PROFESSIONALS are:

  • Risk management
  • Insurance planning
  • Education saving planning
  • Tax planning strategies
  • Legacy or charitable planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Cash flow analysis
  • Debt management
  • Emergency funds management
  • Estate planning
  • Small business planning

As you can see there is a vast array of services that a financial professional can offer to help with whatever life throws your way.

No matter where you are in life you can benefit from working with a financial professional!

A common misconception is that financial management is for those who may be older or more advanced in their lives or careers. It is never too soon to begin working towards your ideal future. The money from a part-time job can flourish and grow just as easily as the money from an established career.

A surprising area a financial professional can assist with is planning the financing for a college education. Be it setting up an investment account for a child’s future education or helping you make your own college dream a reality a financial professional can facilitate that.

Determining when the right to have a child often comes down to the cost of raising a child. In the United States the average cost of raising a child is around 234,000 dollars.That number is only an average through age 17.

It does not include the cost of a cell phone, car, or college. Raising a child can be one of the biggest financial undertakings that a person will ever do. Are you prepared to handle the cost in the long term?

Do you have money set aside for an emergent fund? What about a plan to save for your first home? Getting on the right path and staying on it will be easier to do with someone to guide you on your way. Being guided by someone who knows what they are doing makes a huge difference!

While no one likes to think about the end of life, it can become a comfort knowing that your family is taken care of. Cost of care during an illness or the price of funerals should not be something that your loved one has to think about in an already stressful time. Knowing that your finches are in order can provide a great sense of confidence as well.

It is up to you to choose the best financial professional!

At the end of the day who you chose to work with and what you chose to do with it is your choice. But having someone who has knowledge and experience in dealing with finances can make the process less intimidating. A financial professional is a guide on the road to getting where you want to be with your money. One of the greatest joys I have working as a financial advisor is when a client reaches their goal. 

You work hard for your money! Put that money to work for you. So that in the future you can work less and enjoy life more.

Choosing who to trust with your money and your future is a big step. That is why finding a financial professional who you can rely on is so important!

Building a relationship between professional and client is what makes a good partnership when it comes to managing money.

For more information check out our other helpful guides with tips on money managing or give us a call and let us help you! We can not wait to hear from you!