American debt is at an all time high, with consumers owing a total of $11.13 trillion, of which an estimated $894.8 billion is credit card debt. Though the economy, housing, and job markets are slowly showing signs of recovery, American debt shows little to no sign of slowing down. In fact, a recent CBS New Report indicated that American consumer debt continues to rise by $75 million each hour.
However, many Americans are attempting to break the cycle, and are seeking out debt help in order to better manage their finances. Though online financial advice forums can offer bits of information, it’s best to seek financial planning advice from an experienced and qualified debt counselor. Debt counselling gives consumers the tools and resources they need in order to take control of their finances, and make better financial decisions in the future.
If you’re considering seeking independent financial advice, here are three tips that will help find the right financial adviser for your needs.
Understand the difference
It’s important to understand the difference between financial planning and investment management. Financial planning involves carefully evaluating your unique financial situation in its entirety and creating a plan of action to help you achieve your financial goals. While similar, invest management is more focused on how to fund investments such as stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, and even a new business venture. While some financial advisers offer both services, some do not. Therefore, it is important to know the difference before moving forward.
Look into credentials
The best and most experienced financial planners have credentials. Look for an adviser who has their CFP (certified financial planner) or PFS (personal financial specialist) attribution. There are a number of designations that a financial planner can acquire over time, some of which are easier to achieve than others. This is where understanding the difference between financial planning, investment management, and retirement planning comes into play, as each arena has its own distinct certifications. It’s important to research the adviser’s credentials in order to ensure you’re receiving the best independent financial advice for your desired goals.
Know how you will be charged
There are several ways a financial adviser can bill you. A popular method of billing in fee-only, or no commission, meaning that the adviser can only receive compensation directly from you as opposed to receiving commissions from products they sell. For example, a fee-only only adviser can’t receive payment from an insurance company, mutual fund company, or a brokerage firm. This means they only represent you and your best interest when giving you independent financial advice.
It’s also important to note that should you have questions or concerns at any time, it is essential that you voice them. After all, the only silly question is the one that is not asked.
Financial planning allows consumers to reach their financial goals and plan for their future. By taking advantage of these tips for finding the best adviser for you needs, you too will be able to reach your financial goals.