Virtually anyone can call themselves a financial planner. The key question is: Do they have meaningful credentials or hard-to-obtain certifications like CFA (chartered financial analyst)? If the resume is light, you might want to rethink a possible affiliation.
Did your planner, at your very first meeting, pressure you to buy immediately? Hmmm… Have you checked online to see if any complaints are listed against him or her, or whether the planner is registered with your state’s security department?
Also, if the planner sells insurance, have you checked out your state’s division of insurance?
Do you totally understand the planner’s advice? Have you bounced the ideas off a friend or close relative, and do they totally understand them? Will the planner put the recommendations, and total costs, in writing?
Are you convinced the planner’s choice of CDs or money market accounts are backed by the government, and have you gone to Depositaccounts.com or Bankrate.com to make sure?
Surely, learn for certain whether there are penalties for getting your money back, what they are and how long the penalty period lasts. Penalties are a darn good indication the planner is receiving a big commission on your money. And as one expert intelligently points out, don’t put trust in references you don’t know. Even poor planners usually can find three people who will vouch for them. Good luck!