Important questions to ask when choosing the right person to help plan your financial future
Let’s be honest: keeping up with the current state of financial markets and navigating the ins and outs of investing is daunting. Who has the time to figure it all out, and the confidence to make sound decisions? Yet some 54% of Americans polled in a recent survey report that they go it alone with their investments – only 38% say they work with a financial advisor. There’s no better time than now to find professional help for your financial planning.
Daniel Lash is a partner with VLP Financial Advisors and has more than 25 years in the financial industry. If you’re considering a financial advisor to help with your financial future, he has some insight on how to go about choosing the right one for you.
What credentials and/or experience should one look for when choosing a financial advisor?
When interviewing advisors, ask for a list of their credentials as well as their years of experience since passing their exam.
One of the best indicators of both training and knowledge is the CFP® designation— financial advisors who are CFP® professionals have completed an additional year or more of study and passed a series of comprehensive tests. However, a financial advisor with 10 or more years of experience but who is not a CFP® may have enough experience to provide clients the level of knowledge to help them meet their financial needs.
What does it mean when an advisor is also a fiduciary?
A fiduciary is someone who acts on a client’s behalf and is legally bound to put your best interests first. When you work with a fiduciary—something I recommend—you know that their advice is not colored by their own personal interests, such as commissions earned when selling a product, for example. All CFP® professionals are required to also be fiduciary.
What other questions should I ask before working with an advisor?
Do you charge fees or commissions for your services, and if so, what are the fee and commission amounts in dollars and percentages?
What else should I know about working with a financial advisor?
While we help clients with investing, what to invest in and how, there is much more we as financial advisors do for our clients beyond investing.
We can help you navigate financial hurdles and find solutions and opportunities—for example, we can help you determine how much and what type of accounts to use to save for college, how much and what types of life insurance you should have, and what estate documents will ensure that your assets go where you would like. We can review beneficiaries on different types of accounts to integrate with your estate planning, recommend what types of accounts best meet your needs to save for retirement, and review your employer retirement plan with you.
A trusted CFP® professional will help you find the most efficient way to pay off debt, and will look at your income to determine how much you can afford to save for your different goals. But perhaps most importantly, we will help you understand that focusing on what you save and spend is far more controllable than worrying about how the stock or bond market is doing, and that time in the market is far more effective to reach goals than timing the market.
For more than 30 years, VLP Financial Advisors has worked successfully and effectively with all kinds of families and individuals, retirees and business owners, women and men — all pursuing their own aspirations, each investing and saving in the ways that make the most sense for them.
VLP specializes in investment management and financial planning for individuals, families and organizations, and 401(k) management for small businesses.
We are proud to carry the following designations:
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) Professionals
- Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®)
- Certified Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®)
Learn more at www.vlpfa.com
Securities and advisory services offered through Registered Representatives of Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, a Broker-Dealer and Registered Investment Advisor. 8391 Old Courthouse Road Suite 203 Vienna, VA 22182
Daniel P. Lash CFP®, AIF®
VLP Financial Advisors
8391 Old Courthouse Rd., Suite 203
Vienna, VA 22182