TIPS FOR CONSUMERS Selecting an Advisor

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1 TIPS FOR CONSUMERS Selecting an Advisor Insured Retirement Institute Financial planning provides direction and meaning to your financial decisions. It allows you to understand how each financial decision you make effects other areas of your finances and your future financial security. Financial planning provides you with goals and a means of monitoring progress towards those goals. This gives you the ability to adjust your plan if there are changes in your life or investment performance. You can also adapt more easily to life changes and feel more secure that your goals are on track. FINANCIAL ADVISORS In addition to being qualified to provide you with general financial planning services, many financial planners are also registered as investment advisors or hold insurance or securities licenses that allow them to buy or sell products. Other planners may have you use more specialized financial advisors to help you implement their recommendations. The following is a list of the different types of financial advisor: Accountant Accountants provide you with advice on tax matters and help you prepare and submit your tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service. All accountants who practice as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) must be licensed by the state(s) in which they practice. Estate Planner Estate planners provide you with advice on estate taxes or other estate planning issues and put together a strategy to transfer your assets to your beneficiaries. Attorneys, accountants, financial planners, insurance agents or trust bankers may all provide estate-planning services. Financial Planner A financial planner is someone who uses the financial planning process to help you figure out how to meet your life goals. The planner can look at all of your needs, including budgeting and saving, taxes, investments, insurance and retirement planning. Insurance Agent Insurance agents are licenses by the state(s) in which they practice to sell life, health, annuity and other insurance products. Financial planners may identify and advise you on your insurance needs, but can only sell you insurance products if they are also licensed as insurance agents. Investment Advisor Anybody who is compensated to provide securities advice must register as an investment advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission or relevant state securities agencies. Because financial planners often advised people on securities-based investments, many are registered as investment advisors.

2 CHECKLIST For Interviewing a Financial Advisor Planner Name: Company: Address: Phone: Date: 1) Do you have experience in providing advice on the topics below? If yes, indicate the number of years. Retirement Planning Investment Planning Tax planning Estate planning Insurance planning Integrated planning 2) What are your areas of specialization? What qualifies you in this field? 3) A. How long have you been offering financial planning advice to clients? Less than one year One to four years Five to ten years More than 10 years B. How many clients do you currently have? Less than 10 clients 10 to to ) Briefly describe your work history. 2

3 5) What are your educational qualifications? Give areas of study. Certificate Undergraduate degree Advanced degree 6) What financial planning designation(s) or certification(s) do you hold? Certified Financial Planner certification (CFP) Certified Public Accountant-Personal Financial Specialist (CPA-PFS) Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) 7) What financial planning continuing education requirements do you fulfill? hours every 8) What licenses do you hold? Insurance Securities CPA J.D. 9) A. Are you personally licensed or registered as an Investment Adviser with the: State(s)? Federal Government? B. Is your firm licensed or registered as an Investment Adviser with the: State(s)? Federal Government? C. Will you provide me with your disclosure document Form ADV Part II or its state equivalent? 10) What services do you offer? 3

4 11) Describe your approach to financial planning. 12) A. Who will work with me? Planner Associate(s) B. Will the same individual(s) review my financial situation? If no, who will? 13) How are you paid for your services? Fee Commission Fee and commission Salary 14) What do you typically charge? A. Fee: Hourly rate $ Flat fee (range) $ to $ Percentage of assets under management percent B. Commission: _What is the approximate percentage of the investment or premium you receive on: Stocks and bonds Mutual funds Annuities Insurance products Other 15) A. Do you have a business affiliation with any company whose products or services you are recommending? B. Is any of your compensation based on selling products? 4

5 C. Do professionals and sales agents to whom you may refer me send business, fees or any other benefits to you? D. Do you have an affiliation with a broker/dealer? E. Are you an owner of, or connected with, any other company whose services or products I will use? F. Do you provide a written client engagement agreement? 5

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