We’re very careful about what we look for in, say, a doctor or a mechanic. But how often do we look closely at what we’re getting with a personal financial advisor? Especially when it comes to women and their financial needs, it’s important to vet a personal financial advisor on a few key points.
Anybody, in theory, can call themselves a personal financial advisor, but there’s a difference between a professional who will guide you to good decisions and somebody who won’t. Look for a personal financial advisor who has an education in finance, and who holds accreditation from respected institutions. For example, if you’re a woman currently struggling with the financial aspects of divorce, look for a personal financial advisor certified by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. That person will be trained for specific financial issues surrounding divorce and how to address them.
Similarly, a personal financial advisor could be just starting out and, as well-educated as they may be, they may lack the experience to properly guide you. Look for a personal financial advisor who has experience working in the financial industry, such as running their own firm for a number of years or working for a major investment bank. Somebody who can see all sides of the financial industry can often help you understand what the right decision is and, just as importantly, why it’s the right decision.
Especially now, a financial advisor focusing on helping women needs to understand that women can be in a diverse set of situations, especially financially. The first client of the day could be a young woman who has been working since she was in high school, the next an elderly widow uncertain how to manage her husband’s pension, and the third a divorcee entering the workforce for the first time in decades and not sure where to put her newly earned retirement funds. A good personal financial advisor should be able to work with you, whatever the situation.
Women can find themselves meeting with a personal financial advisor for all sorts of reasons. More often than not, though, it’s due to a major and often completely unexpected life event, such as a divorce or the passing of a loved one. A good personal financial advisor will understand that these events are difficult not just financially, but emotionally and sometimes even physically as well. They’ll understand when you have difficulty keeping your eyes open or aren’t able to talk about the divorce without being overwhelmed by emotion, and they’ll respect your needs as a person.
A Good Feeling
You’ll need to be able to talk frankly with your personal financial advisor and work with this person for a long time, so choose somebody you trust. Book an initial meeting to talk with the advisor, discuss your situation, and see how you feel talking with him. No advisor worth his or her salt is going to argue with somebody wanting to ensure that they’re making the right choice for their future.
Regardless of however you do it, make it a point to find a personal financial advisor. They can often make the difference between good decisions and difficult times as your life changes around you.