No one likes change, but chances are you may be forced to make a change with your financial planner at some point in time.

Forty-six percent of financial advisors are over age 55. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc., which includes 94,968 CFP® certificants, states there are more CFP®s are over age 70 than under age 30.

As humans, we loathe change. Quitting smoking, giving up sweets, you name it. Habits are hard to break. But, often we are forced to make changes. Choosing a doctor, financial planner, barber, dentist or landscaper causes us all to pause. When it comes to making a change with your financial planner, chances are you may be forced to make a change at some point in time.

In rough terms, financial planners are aging out. Chances are you may need to find a new one. In some cases, your planner might retire, sell out; or, your account may be handed off to the new guy; or, your current planner’s son or daughter may take over. In most cases, “little Johnny” is rarely a chip off the old block.

Good advising comes from years of experience. If a change of planner is forced upon you, don’t settle. Go on the offensive and make sure you have the right advisor working for you.

Ask your current planner for their continuity and succession plan. A continuity plan describes what happens when an advisor becomes ill or disabled. Succession plans are used in cases of retirement or death when the advisor is leaving the profession.

Many planners have a successor already identified. In that case, ask to meet with this person before your advisor’s exit from the industry. Make sure their personality is a good match and that their philosophy lines up with yours.

Choosing a financial planner is as important as choosing a doctor or lawyer; it’s a very personal relationship. Many professionals specialize in working with certain types of clients, such as small-business owners, women, or retirees. Some specialize in certain areas of planning such as retirement, widowhood, or divorce situations. Interview at least three professionals to hone in on the right one for you.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Look for a financial planner who is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®). You can search here.
  • Read the code of ethics to which your potential new planner adheres. Look for the word “fiduciary” in the language. Fiduciary means the advisor has pledged to act in your best interests at all times. Planners who aren’t fiduciaries are held to a lower standard, called the suitability standard. Suitability means choices have to be suitable, but not the best.
  • Understand how they will charge you and/or how they make money and the difference between commission-based vs. fee-only advisors.
  • Run background checks on your planner. The SEC protects investors and shares information about investment professionals to help investors make informed decisions. Go digging for info at SEC.gov or at BrokerCheck on FINRA.org.

If we can be of assistance to you, schedule a time to talk. We’d love to meet you.

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