6 Qualities to Look for in a Financial Planner

Whether you are saving for retirement, wondering how you will put the kids through college or just trying to stop living pay check to pay check, seeking professional help and guidance can improve the odds of success. Working with a financial planner is a great way to boost your nest egg, increase the performance of your investments and deepen your understanding of the markets and how they work.

As with hiring any professional, finding a financial planner you can trust is not something to be taken lightly. There are a lot of things to consider when hiring a professional planner, and many essential qualities to look for. Here are six important things to look for when shopping for a financial planner.

Experience in up and down markets- It is easy to make money in a bull market, but much more difficult when stocks take a turn for the worse. Look for a financial planner who has experience in all kinds of markets, one who can guide you no matter what happens.

An independent operation- Fee-only financial planners are paid for the advice and guidance they provide, not for the products they sell. Avoid financial planners who work on commission or have conflicts of interest with the investment products they sell.

The ability to break down complicated concepts- Financial professionals use a lot of complicated jargon, but the best financial planners are able to break things down into terms that are easy for their clients to understand.

Solid training and education- Every financial planner brings his or her own background to the table, and you will need to assess their training and education. Look for a financial planner with an excellent education in the field, including ongoing classes and seminars on the latest changes in the market.

A long-term outlook- Experienced financial planners understand that the stock market is a long-term investment, and they help their clients see things the same way.

A reasonable minimum - Many financial planners require a minimum net worth for their new clients, so look for one whose numbers are reasonable. A financial planner with a higher than average minimum investment may not give smaller clients the attention they need to build their net worth.

It is not always easy to find a financial planner you can trust, but this is one decision you do not want to rush. With so much at stake, you want to find a financial planner who has your best interests at heart, and that means shopping around carefully, concluding extensive interviews and asking the right questions.