Find the Best Financial Investment Advice Fast

Looking for financial investment advice does NOT have to be confusing. There are places on the internet that can point you in the right direction, along with people who can give you what you need.

You no longer have to worry about the many different people and places eager to give your their spin (excluding this site, of course!).

What is a Personal Financial Advisor?

A personal financial advisor is a financial professional who is paid to provide customized financial investment advice, based on your unique set of circumstances.

This is a very broad category, and can cover many different backgrounds, certifications, and degrees.

You've probably heard of a few: MBA, JD, CPA, CFP. But what about an "Accredited Financial Counselor", or a "Chartered Financial Consultant"? You've probably never heard of either of them, let alone know the differences between the two. How can anyone know who is the "right" choice?

Fear on.

Choices for Financial Investment Advice

There are two types of financial investment advisors: Fee-only and Commission-based.

    "Fee-Only" financial advisors are compensated only by you and other clients. The advisor does not receive anything (commissions, discounts, other incentives, etc.) on the purchase a “financial product” like a mutual fund or stock.

    "Commission-Based" advisors are compensated by a percentage of the amount you choose to spend or size of the portfolio they manage. There are potential conflicts of interest because they make money when you buy something, regardless of whether or not it is a good “fit” for your situation.

A second consideration is that fee-only advisors put your interests ahead of their own, while those that are commission-based have a legal responsibility to represent their employer first.

Where to Find Financial Investment Advice

The best place to start your search is with the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).

NAPFA is an American trade organization, created for fee-only advisors. There mission, as stated on their website, is:

    "To promote the public interest by advancing the financial planning profession and supporting our members consistent with our core values."

In order to be a member of NAPFA, personal financial advisors and investment specialists must meet a strict set of professional standards. This is done through the process of peer reviews for a potential candidate’s work (e.g. comprehensive financial plan for a client).

The plan must cover the common needs of many individuals and families, including:

  • Goals and objectives
  • Net worth statement
  • Cash flow analysis
  • Recent tax return and analysis
  • Insurance needs
    • Auto, home, life, medical, short/long term disability, umbrella, etc.
  • Investment analysis and recommendations
  • Retirement needs and projections
  • Estate plan
    • Living will, living proxy, durable power of attorney, etc.

NOTE: You can start improving your financial future right now by clicking on the links next to each bullet point. Save time by preparing before a meeting, so you can spend time on specific questions rather than rehashing your basic info!

As you can guess, these strict criteria keeps membership small (~2400 members). But these standards work in your favor.

NAPFA members have a reputation for excellence and integrity, which is hard to come by, as seen during the 2008 financial crisis.

The site has a simple interface for you to use in your search.

Financial Investment Advice - NAPFA

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors Website

After entering your home town or zip code, a list of local NAPFA members will appear. You can also search for a specific advisor to see if he or she is listed.

Along with a phone number, the results include a map of the address, a short description for the advisor, a link to the advisor's website, and email address if available.

Financial Investment Advice - NAPFA Advisor Search Results

NAPFA Search Results - Detroit, Mi

The "Refine Results" option is the best feature of the site. By following the link, you can select the specific specialties you need, including:

  • Retirement Plan Investment Advice
  • Ongoing Investment Management
  • Cash Flow/Budgets/Credit Issues
  • Charitable Giving - Trusts & Foundations
  • College/Education Planning
  • Estate & Generational Planning Issues
  • Insurance Related Issues, including Annuities
  • Alternative or Private Investments
  • Investment Advice without Ongoing Management
  • Real Estate Investments
  • Retirement Planning & Distribution Rules
  • Socially Responsible Investments
  • Tax Planning
  • Planning Issues for Business Owners
  • Helping Clients Identify & Achieve Goals
  • Planning Concerns for Corporate Executives
  • Divorce Planning
  • Advising Employee Benefit Plan Participants
  • Financial Issues Between Generations
  • Middle Income Client Needs
  • Newlyweds & Novice Investors
  • Advising Medical Professionals
  • Professional Athletes or Entertainers
  • Special Needs Planning
  • Planning Issues for Unmarried & Same-Sex Couples
  • Womens Financial Planning Issues
  • Hourly Financial Planning Services
  • High Net Worth Client Needs
  • Advising Entrepreneurs

Financial Investment Advice - Search Refinement

Refining Your Search Results

Why Buy Financial Investment Advice?

It makes sense to pay someone for financial investment advice when you need an expert.

For example, you've done everything you can with this site, and now you have specific questions about tax planning. It is time to seek out some advice.

Or, you're just getting started, you really like the topics on the site, but are not sure how to begin because of some "special" circumstances. Having someone provide you with advice may be the added reassurance you need.

It is also appropriate to seek out financial investment advice when you realize the importance of taking control of your finances, but are wise enough to realize that you cannot take care of them yourself.

Factors Affecting Cost

The cost of your financial investment advice will depend on what services you need. Complicated estate planning or structuring a corporation will usually cost more than having someone look over your taxes.

Keep an eye out for "hidden" fees and any payment quoted in percentages. 1% or 2% does not seem like a lot, but as your account grows, the annual commission you're charged also increases.

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