1. What experience do you have? Ask for a brief description of financial professional’s work experience and how it relates to his or her current practice. Do they have strong experience helping people in a situation that is similar to your own?
2. Is there an oversight body requiring ongoing education and ethics? Ask about the credentials your professional holds and learn how he or she stays up to date with current changes and developments in the personal finance field.
3. What services do you offer? Credentials, licenses and areas of expertise are all factors that determine the services a financial professional can offer. Financial counselors and coaches do not sell insurance or securities products, such as mutual funds or stocks. They also do not typically offer investment advice unless registered with state or federal authorities.
4. What is your approach? Make sure the professional's philosophy and approach align with your needs and values. You also may consider your financial professional's personality and communication style. Standard wisdom on seeking the advice of financial professionals often overlooks the importance of personal compatibility.
5. What types of clients do you typically work with? Some financial professionals prefer to work with clients whose assets fall within a particular range, so it's important to make sure that the counselor or coach is a good fit for your individual financial situation.
6. How much do you charge? The financial counselor or coach should be able to provide you with an estimate of possible costs based on the work to be performed.
7. How will I pay for your services? Financial professionals can be paid in several ways. As part of your written agreement, your financial counselor should make it clear how they will be paid for the services to be provided.
8. Do others stand to gain from the financial advice you give me? Ask the professional to provide you with a description of any conflicts of interest in writing.
9. Who can provide a referral?
10. Have you been disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions?
The questions are recommended by Lorna Saboe-Wounded Head, South Dakota State University Extension family resource management field specialist. For more information, contact her at [email protected].