How to Find a Financial Professional

March 05, 2024

Finding the right financial professional is crucial in navigating the complexities of planning for life. But where to begin? 

At Steffens & Steffens, we understand the importance of personalized guidance, whether you're exploring retirement options or seeking to maximize tax benefits. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to find a financial professional who aligns with your goals.


Determine Your Financial Goals:

Before starting your search for a financial advisor, take some time to define your financial goals and objectives. Whether you're saving for retirement, planning for your children's education, or navigating stock options at your workplace, having a clear understanding of your financial priorities will make it much easier to find an advisor specializing in the area’s most important to you. 

Research Credentials and Qualifications:

When exploring the various financial professionals available to you, it’s essential to consider their credentials and qualifications. Look for advisors with relevant certifications such as Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) or Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA®/QPFC). These designations demonstrate a commitment to high ethical standards in the financial industry. 

How we compare: We hold esteemed designations such as Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®), Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA®/QPFC), and Nonqualified Plan Consultant (NQPC™). We offer our services both online and in-person across the United States, which we find essential in assisting more individuals and businesses with their financial needs. To find out more information about our fiduciary services, click here.

Seek Recommendations:

Word-of-mouth recommendations can be a great way to find trusted professionals, not just in the financial industry. Ask friends, family members, or colleagues for referrals to advisors they’ve had positive experiences with. In addition to your network, it may be worthwhile to connect with your professional network. Attorneys and accountants typically work closely with financial professionals and may be able to recommend someone they work closely with. 

How we compare: Most of our clientele comes from word-of-mouth, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Evaluate Communication Style:

Finances are ever-changing, and it’s important to find a professional that you’re comfortable communicating with. Look for an advisor who takes the time to listen to your concerns, explains complex financial concepts clearly and understandably, and communicates regularly to keep you informed about your financial progress.

How we compare: We understand the importance of staying connected with our clients. We tailor our communication preferences to each individual. Within our communications, we offer regular updates via email, typically two to three times a month, including general market updates and educational emails. We schedule in-person meetings at least every six months, with yearly review meetings. Our approach is to be proactive and make ourselves available to discuss our client’s goals and address any questions or concerns you may have throughout the year. 

Consider Fee Structures:

A financial advisor may charge for their services in various ways, including hourly rates, flat fees, or a percentage of assets under management. Consider your preferences and financial situation when evaluating fee structures. Some fee-based advisors may be more transparent on pricing but may offer fewer services. 

How we compare: We are fee-based, meaning we don’t charge commissions when managing your assets. There is an annual fee that is charged as a percentage of the account balance. This fee is determined by the total number of household advisory assets we manage for you. We offer various discounts for public service, and offer a blended-fee rate. To see more information on our fees, click here.

Conduct Interviews:

Before deciding what financial professional you would like to use, scheduling initial consultations or interviews with potential financial advisors is essential. This allows you to ask questions about their experience, approach to financial planning, and how they can help you achieve your financial goals. Their responsiveness, professionalism, and your comfortability should determine if you want to move forward. Be wary of sales tactics during these calls, as some professionals may try to sell you on their services more than others.

How we compare: We welcome any calls or meetings to discuss our services and what we can do for you. Since finances are quite a personal topic, we like to give our potential clients all the tools necessary to make an informed decision on whether we are a fit for them. We feel that even if you don’t choose us as your financial professional, you should lean into smaller companies compared to larger financial institutions. Smaller companies are more likely to create a better relationship with you, and the interns understand your financial goals and aspirations than a larger company.

Trust Your Instincts:

All in all, trusting your instincts is extremely important in this process. Select an advisor that makes you feel confident, supported, and understood. Remember that establishing a long-term relationship with your advisor is essential, so choose someone you will feel comfortable working with for years to come, regardless of your financial situation. 

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Conclusion:

Finding the right financial professional may take some time and research. Still, the benefits of working with a financial advisor that is right for you can lead to greater financial security and peace of mind. By taking a proactive approach to your financial future, you can set yourself on the path toward achieving your financial goals!

Ready to Schedule a Meeting?

Click here or the photo below to schedule an in-person, virtual, or phone call meeting.

We look forward to working with you!