Finding An Orange County Financial Advisor You Can Trust

 

With technology and the ease of information everywhere these days, it can sometimes be stressful and confusing to sort your way through the pages and pages of information while looking for specific answers to your money questions. That’s why it is valuable to get help from a well-informed, experienced professional in the financial field.

Prior to finding a suitable financial planner, make sure to identify your needs and reasons for seeking advice. This will help you decide on the right person to help you. Professional advice is especially valuable when you are going through a major life event such as starting a family, or perhaps if you find yourself suddenly without a job. It is also useful to have advice for when you want to reach a particular goal such as saving more money. Financial advisors can help you become financially secure, by giving you step-by-step instructions on how to keep track of your spending, how to get the most from taxation and even give you confidence to invest and build wealth. Most of all, sometimes having someone to be accountable to is simply the extra push you need to start seriously working on your finance goals.

Searching The Orange County Financial Advisor Marketplace

Depending on the stage you are in life, the amount of money you have or plan to invest and how complex your money situation is, there are a host of options when it comes to finding a financial planner in Orange County. Whether it is a simple advice on one particular issue, such as how and what to invest in with some extra money you have, or to set up a financial plan for the future, financial planners provide comprehensive advice and information to ensure your needs are met.

Once you have decided on the level of service you are looking for from a professional advisor, you can start researching and comparing. A financial planner would be a member of a professional association such as the American Financial Services Association or AFSA. Trade associations have lists of members of providers of financial services to consumers and small businesses, and usually have a code of conduct that are requirements for members to adhere to. As such they are a great starting point to find the right professional for you. Looking for a financial advisor in Orange Country is easy as there is an association in Orange County that has about 500 members currently. All national organizations mentioned above have searchable databases by state and contact information for all their members.

References From Orange County Friends And Relatives

Asking friends and family is also a good way to find a great Orange County financial advisor. Recommendations from those in the same boat or have been in the same boat as you are in will ensure that you find a consultant with successful experience in providing the advice you need. The chances are good that they will be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to finding a person who will meet your expectations. If are willing to ask, around you can find someone who you can feel comfortable with because they come highly recommended from someone whose opinion you trust and value. The chances are that someone you already know has a person that they regularly use, and there is really no need for you to spend a lot of time searching for someone on your own.

orange county financial advisor dollar sign pictureSometimes people are concerned that if they use someone who also works for their friends or family that it will create a conflict of interests. They may be concerned that the planner will discuss their personal financial information with the people that they know, but that is probably not something to worry about.  Although if it is a concern of yours then all you  have to do is ask the planner about it, and they will likely be able to put any concerns that you have to rest. Any good professional will know that personal financial information is not to be discussed publicly with other people. The good thing about seeking out a wealth management advisor this way is that you will be starting the relationship with a good understanding of what kind of work you can expect from the person since you have already talked with some of their clients.

Find The Right Credentials

As part of your consideration, also make sure to look for a planner who is a certified as they are licensed, regulated and attend mandatory classes for continual improvement on their knowledge. Some legitimate designations include CFP and ChFC so make sure that you do some research on the certified qualifications. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAFPA) or the Garrett Planning Network are all great sources. Remember that their members have all received the proper training and have also agreed to work within the organization’s code of ethics and standards. Another source is The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants who have a list of CPA’s (Certified Practicing Accountants) who have earned the Personal Financial Specialist qualification.

Types Of Payment

Common payment for planners include fee-only, fee-based or commission-based. Fee-only means that their only revenue of income is from clients, and accept no commissions. You can be rest assured that they will act in your best interests. If you are someone with just a few questions, you can have help and assistance without being charged too much. Fee-based advisors earn commissions on an investment that they sell to you. It is important to get one who will provide full disclosure about payment and ask for a written agreement that details the compensation and services provided.

A great financial planner will know the right questions to ask you, and these include not only information about your income and assets but also about your family, your life goals, how comfortable you are with taking risks and so much more.

 

 

Identify Your Needs

You need to interview at least two to three professionals even if you are convinced that the first person you talked to is the one. When you interview several people, you are going to learn how different financial planners work and you are going to appreciate the differences between them. You need to know if you are going to be charged for those meetings.

Inquire about the credentials of the prospective professional in regard to experience and training. There are quite a number of advisory designations and certifications and some are only for the marketing purposes. You need to know if the financial planner has gone through an extended course of study and if they took an exam. Find out if they are supposed to follow a code of professional ethics and standards.

Ask potential consultants about the organization that regulates them. There are some professionals who are registered twice and are supervised by more than one authority. You need to call the organization that regulates the person to find out if they are in good standing.

If you will be looking for advice on investment, you need to know that some people only take clients based on the size of their investment portfolio. Make sure you ask about this in advance. If you find out that you do not meet the person’s minimum, do not think that there is no one else who will accept you. Keep searching for the professionals that are offering advice on a different basis.

You need to know what an engagement with the person is going to entail. Not only should you ask about the services that they provide such as preparation of tax and investment management, but also inquire about how you are going to work with them. You need to know if you are going to be working with one planner or if there are other team members that you are going to be interacting with.

Financial fiduciaries place the interest of the client before their own when providing advice. They also disclose of any existing or potential conflicts of interest that could influence their basis of advice. The best way for you to find out if the financial planner is going to be acting as a fiduciary in their engagement with you is by simply asking them if they are a fiduciary.

How is a Financial Advisor Paid?

All financial planners earn their income in one way or another and it is essential that you know how the compensation works. They are classified as either being commission or fee or a combination of the two. Fees can mean an hourly charge, a set fee for a certain project such as preparation of a financial plan, a retainer fee and assets management or where an advisor is paid for them to build and manage the portfolio of a client.

When you will be interviewing clients, you need to ask if you can get in touch with some of the previous clients of the consultant. You should know that very few people will be willing to give you the names of clients who were not satisfied with them. Maintaining the confidentiality of the client is essential thus the consultant needs to ask their client for permission first if it is okay for you to get in touch with them.

Expertise In Different Areas

Expertise in finance covers a lot of areas such as cash flow, debt management, risk management, investment, tax and estate planning. You need to discuss with a potential consultant the areas that they specialize in and if referrals will be given to outside professionals for advice in some of the areas where the individual is not an expert.

Some consultants only focus on specific clients such as retirees, divorced, attorneys and doctor. Sometimes they are also defined by level of wealth such as middle income and wealthy. It is not good for you to be the person’s biggest or smallest client.

Final Things To Consider

The top Orange County financial financial planners are easy to find thanks to the local association and are experienced professionals with extensive wealth management knowledge. They can educate you about money as well as teach to you make wise financial decisions and achieve financial independence. Make your money last and find someone who will make your life a smoother, richer one with less stress about money.

As seen above, there are a lot of things to take into consideration when choosing a financial advisor. You should know that there are many different types of practice and business models. Do not forget to keep the focus on yourself and remember that you and your financial needs come first. Be sure to research on the potential consultant and find out a lot of information about them. You need someone who is competent to advise you on financial matters.