Investing can seem daunting at first, which is why having a professional to help guide you is so important. Learn how to find a financial advisor who is well-suited for your individual needs, long-term goals and preferred risk level.
When it comes to opportunities for long-term wealth-building, stock investments top the list of options. The average return from stocks is 9.2% per year according to Goldman Sachs1, while the average savings account yields just .04% annually.2 Stocks indexed in the S&P 500 — which contains the largest publicly-traded companies — perform even better on average!
So, why are only 52% of Americans investing in the stock market, with most just having 401(k) accounts?3 One reason is that learning the ins and outs of investing can feel overwhelming to the average person. Some people wonder how to get started or where to get help. Others worry that they aren’t wealthy enough to start investing. Before you talk yourself out of investing for your future, consider speaking with a professional financial advisor who can clear up any potential misconceptions.
75% of Americans choose to manage their own money.4 Yet:
- 28% of those with financial advisors reported their household income increased in 2020, compared to 15% of those without an advisor.5
- 44% of those without advisors say they now realize the benefits of having one.5
I’m Not Rich. Do I Need a Financial Advisor?
The reality is that financial advisors work with clients at many income levels and with varying amounts of money to invest. While some financial institutions and investment firms have minimum investment requirements, they may also provide financial education and other tools to help you save the money you need to get started. Check with your local credit union or bank to learn about their investment services and what other resources they offer. At Desert Financial Wealth Management, you’ll get the same exceptional service no matter how much you want to invest.
What Services Does a Financial Advisor Offer?
A financial advisor can help you develop a plan, even if you’ve never invested before and this is your first step into the market. Because they have expertise in the field, an advisor can walk you through the different investment options available, from mutual funds, index funds, stocks and bonds to 529 college savings plans and real estate holdings. Financial advisors can assist with retirement planning and other long-term financial goals. They can also help you determine the risk level that you’re comfortable with, which can aid in choosing stocks and other investment products. And, of course, your financial advisor will facilitate the purchase of the products you choose.
What don’t they do? Tell you exactly which stocks, funds or assets to buy. A financial advisor can provide guidance based on your individual needs, but ultimately, they need your input to make financial decisions.
How Do I Choose the Right Financial Advisor?
Finding the right financial advisor is important because you may be working with them for many years to come. Even if you hope to set up an ongoing financial plan that requires little input during the year, you’ll still need to meet periodically — and having a solid, pleasant working relationship will ensure this task is an easy one.
Some firms and financial institutions have extensive questionnaires or requirements in place to determine if you meet their qualifications before you ever step foot in the door (virtually or physically). Others, like the Raymond James Financial advisors at Desert Financial Wealth Management, offer a free initial consultation to determine your needs and whether the partnership is a good fit. Consider “interviewing” several advisors to see who you are most comfortable with.
Here are some potential questions to ask during your initial consultation:
- What products and services do you offer?
- What certifications or professional associations do you have?
- What is the minimum I can invest with you?
- Do you specialize in working with certain types of clients and accounts?
- What is your investment style and your comfortability level with risk?
- How do you stay in touch with clients, and how often?
Go with your gut. An advisor can have impressive credentials and a client list a mile long, but if you don’t mesh well personally you might have a difficult time working with them. If an advisor swears they always respond to clients quickly by email or phone and then doesn’t return your calls for three weeks, your gut might tell you this isn’t the right match. The same goes if your main interest is retirement planning with a moderate approach and the advisor has a history of making short-term, high-risk investments.
Listen to your inner voice. If the company’s values don’t align with your own, it might be time to look elsewhere. If you have doubts about an advisor but like the way the company does business, see if there’s another advisor there you can work with.
Finding Your Financial Advisor
If you’re looking to get into investments, choosing an advisor is a great place to start. Think of the process like you would job interview: You are trusting this person with your money, so you want to make sure they are the right person for the job. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be clear about your preferences and expectations. Because your advisor may be your guide throughout a significant portion of your investment journey, choosing someone you trust and are comfortable with should be a top priority!
Find a local financial advisor you can trust and schedule a free appointment.
CONTACT AN ADVISOR