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  • Writer's pictureMegan Waters, AAMS®,CMFC®

How to Pick a Financial Planner for Retirement?

Updated: Sep 23, 2023


How to pick a financial planner for retirement

Retirement is a milestone that most people look forward to, but it can also be a source of stress and uncertainty.


One of the most important decisions you'll make as you approach retirement is choosing a financial planner. A good financial planner can help you navigate the complexities of retirement planning, create a retirement plan tailored to your needs, and ensure that you have enough money to live comfortably throughout your retirement.


In this article, we'll explore how to pick a financial planner for retirement, and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.


Many Americans haven't contacted a financial planner simply because they don't know where to look or how to assess their expertise and cost. To address this, we've designed a free quiz to connect you with a credible, competent, and experienced financial advisor.


This quiz gauges your needs and pairs you with a financial advisor who specializes in retirement income planning. You can then consider working with the advisor based on his/her specialties, pricing, and other factors. Plus, each match comes with a free consultation, empowering you to make an informed decision when choosing a financial advisor.


Choosing a financial planner for retirement is not a decision to be taken lightly. Your financial planner will be responsible for managing your retirement savings, helping you invest your money, and making sure you have enough income to support yourself throughout your retirement. With so much at stake, it's important to take the time to find the right financial planner for you.


To do so, you'll need to start by determining your retirement goals. What do you want your retirement to look like? Do you plan to travel extensively, or do you plan to spend most of your time at home? Do you have any specific financial goals, such as paying off debt or leaving money to your heirs?


Once you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve in retirement, you can start looking for a financial planner who can help you reach those goals.


Here's how to pick a financial planner for retirement.


Determine Your Retirement Goals


The first step in picking a financial planner for retirement is to determine your retirement goals. Retirement looks different for everyone, and it's important to have a clear idea of what you want your retirement to look like.


Ask yourself some key questions, such as:

  • When do you want to retire?

  • What kind of lifestyle do you want in retirement?

  • Do you have any specific financial goals for retirement?

  • Do you want to leave money to your heirs?

  • What kind of retirement savings do you currently have?

Your answers to these questions will help you determine what kind of financial planner you need.


For example, if you want to retire early and travel extensively, you may need a financial planner who specializes in retirement planning for people who want to travel. Alternatively, if you have specific financial goals, such as paying off debt or saving for a child's college education, you may need a financial planner who can help you achieve those goals.


It's important to be as specific as possible when determining your retirement goals. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to find a financial planner who can help you achieve those goals.


Once you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve in retirement, you can start looking for a financial planner who can help you create a retirement plan that is tailored to your needs.


Research Potential Financial Planners


Once you've determined your retirement goals, the next step is to research potential financial planners who can help you achieve those goals.


There are several ways to find financial planners, including:

Once you have a list of potential financial planners, it's important to research them thoroughly. Look for information on their website or social media profiles, and read reviews from previous clients. You can also check their credentials by looking up their name on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) websites.

When researching potential financial planners, pay attention to their experience, credentials, and areas of specialization. Look for financial planners who have experience working with clients in a similar financial situation as yours, and who have a track record of helping clients achieve their retirement goals.


Finally, look for financial planners who specialize in retirement planning like we do here at Covenant Wealth Advisors, as they will have the knowledge and expertise necessary to help you create a retirement plan that is tailored to your needs.


Check Credentials


Once you've narrowed down your list of potential financial planners, it's important to check their credentials to ensure they are qualified to provide financial advice.


Checking credentials is an important step in the process of picking a financial planner, as it helps you avoid scams and ensures that the financial planner you choose has the necessary education, experience, and certifications to provide you with sound financial advice.


When checking a financial planner's credentials, there are several things to look for:

  1. Licenses: Financial planners must be licensed to provide financial advice in their state. Check with your state's securities regulator to make sure the financial planner you're considering is properly licensed.

  2. Certifications: Financial planners may also hold certifications from professional organizations, such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board or the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute. These certifications indicate that the financial planner has met certain education and experience requirements.

  3. Regulatory Actions: Check the financial planner's disciplinary record with the SEC, FINRA, or your state's securities regulator to see if they have any regulatory actions against them.

  4. Complaints: Look up the financial planner's record with the Better Business Bureau and other consumer protection organizations to see if they have any complaints against them.

Checking a financial planner's credentials can be time-consuming, but it's an important step in ensuring that you choose a financial planner who is qualified to provide you with sound financial advice.


By verifying their licenses, certifications, and disciplinary record, you can ensure that the financial planner you choose is trustworthy and has the necessary skills and experience to help you achieve your retirement goals.


Ask for Referrals and Read Reviews


Another important step in picking a financial planner for retirement is to ask for referrals and read reviews from previous clients. Referrals from friends, family members, and other trusted sources can be a valuable resource when choosing a financial planner, as they can provide insight into the financial planner's communication style, expertise, and overall performance. Reading reviews from previous clients can also help you get a better sense of what it's like to work with the financial planner.


When asking for referrals, be sure to ask people who are in a similar financial situation as you, and who have similar retirement goals. This will help ensure that the financial planner you choose has experience working with clients like you, and has the expertise necessary to help you achieve your retirement goals.


When reading reviews, look for patterns in the feedback. Are there consistent complaints about the financial planner's communication style, fees, or performance? Or are the reviews overwhelmingly positive?


Use the reviews as a tool to help you make an informed decision about the financial planner you're considering.


It's important to keep in mind that not all referrals and reviews are created equal. Be wary of referrals from financial planners themselves, as they may have a conflict of interest. Similarly, be wary of reviews on the financial planner's website, as they may be selectively chosen to present a positive image.


By asking for referrals and reading reviews from previous clients, you can gain valuable insight into the financial planner's performance and overall approach to retirement planning. Use this information to help you narrow down your list of potential financial planners, and move on to the next step: interviewing potential financial planners.


Interview Potential Financial Planners


Once you've narrowed down your list of potential financial planners, it's time to start interviewing them. This is an important step in picking a financial planner, as it allows you to get a better sense of their communication style, expertise, and overall approach to retirement planning.

When interviewing potential financial planners, be sure to ask plenty of questions.


Some questions you may want to ask include:

  1. What is your approach to retirement planning?

  2. How do you ensure that my retirement plan is tailored to my specific needs?

  3. What kind of investment strategies do you recommend?

  4. What is your fee structure?

  5. How often will we meet to review my retirement plan?

  6. How do you stay up-to-date on changes in the financial industry?

  7. Can you provide references from previous clients?

Pay attention to the financial planner's communication style during the interview. Do they explain complex financial concepts in a way that's easy to understand? Do they take the time to answer your questions thoroughly?


A good financial planner should be patient, knowledgeable, and able to explain financial concepts in a way that's easy to understand.

It's also important to consider the financial planner's experience and expertise. Look for a financial planner who has experience working with clients in a similar financial situation as yours, and who has a track record of helping clients achieve their retirement goals.


Consider the financial planner's investment philosophy and approach to risk management, and make sure it aligns with your own goals and risk tolerance.

By interviewing potential financial planners, you can get a better sense of their communication style, expertise, and overall approach to retirement planning. Use this information to help you make an informed decision about the financial planner you choose to work with.

Consider Their Approach and Expertise


When picking a financial planner for retirement, it's important to consider their approach and expertise. Different financial planners have different approaches to retirement planning, and it's important to find one whose approach aligns with your own goals and values.


Consider the financial planner's investment philosophy and approach to risk management. Do they take a conservative or aggressive approach to investing? Are they experienced in managing risk? Make sure their approach aligns with your own goals and risk tolerance.


It's also important to consider the financial planner's areas of expertise. Look for a financial planner who specializes in retirement planning, as they will have the knowledge and expertise necessary to help you create a retirement plan that is tailored to your needs. Consider their experience working with clients in a similar financial situation as yours, and their track record of helping clients achieve their retirement goals.


Finally, consider the financial planner's fee structure. Some financial planners charge a flat fee for their services, while others charge a percentage of assets under management. Make sure you understand the financial planner's fee structure, and that it aligns with your own financial goals and budget.


By considering the financial planner's approach and expertise, you can ensure that you choose a financial planner who has the knowledge, experience, and approach necessary to help you achieve your retirement goals.


Compare and Make a Decision


Once you've interviewed potential financial planners and considered their approach and expertise, it's time to compare them and make a decision. This can be a difficult decision, as you want to choose a financial planner who is trustworthy, knowledgeable, and experienced.


Consider the financial planner's track record of helping clients achieve their retirement goals. Look for a financial planner who has a track record of success, and who has helped clients achieve similar retirement goals as your own. Consider their communication style and responsiveness, as it's important to choose a financial planner who you feel comfortable communicating with.


Compare the financial planner's fee structure and make sure it aligns with your own budget and financial goals. Look for a financial planner who charges a fair and transparent fee for their services, and who is upfront about any potential fees or charges.


Finally, consider your own intuition and gut feeling. After interviewing potential financial planners and considering their approach and expertise, you should have a good sense of which financial planner is the best fit for you. Trust your instincts and choose the financial planner who you feel is the best fit for your retirement goals and financial situation.


By comparing potential financial planners and making a decision based on their track record, fee structure, and your own intuition, you can ensure that you choose a financial planner who is trustworthy, knowledgeable, and experienced, and who can help you achieve your retirement goals.


Establish a Relationship with Your Financial Planner


Once you've chosen a financial planner for your retirement, it's important to establish a strong working relationship with them. This means communicating your retirement goals and expectations clearly, and working with your financial planner to create a retirement plan that is tailored to your needs.


Establishing a strong working relationship with your financial planner also means staying engaged in the retirement planning process. Schedule regular meetings with your financial planner to review your retirement plan and make any necessary adjustments. Keep them informed of any changes in your financial situation or retirement goals, and ask questions if you don't understand something.


It's also important to be transparent with your financial planner about your financial situation. Provide them with accurate information about your income, expenses, and retirement savings, so that they can create a retirement plan that is tailored to your specific needs.


Finally, make sure you are comfortable with your financial planner's approach to risk management and investment strategies. If you have concerns or questions, don't hesitate to ask your financial planner for clarification.


By establishing a strong working relationship with your financial planner, you can ensure that you have a retirement plan that is tailored to your needs and goals, and that you have a trusted advisor who can help you navigate the complexities of retirement planning.


Conclusion


Picking a financial planner for retirement is an important decision that can have a significant impact on your financial future. By taking the time to determine your retirement goals, research potential financial planners, check their credentials, ask for referrals and read reviews, interview potential financial planners, and compare and make a decision, you can ensure that you choose a financial planner who is knowledgeable, experienced, and trustworthy.


Establishing a strong working relationship with your financial planner is also crucial. Be transparent about your financial situation, stay engaged in the retirement planning process, and make sure you are comfortable with your financial planner's approach to risk management and investment strategies.


Ultimately, a good financial planner can help you create a retirement plan that is tailored to your specific needs and goals, and provide you with the guidance and support you need to achieve financial security in retirement. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can make an informed decision about the financial planner you choose to work with, and set yourself on the path to a comfortable and secure retirement.


Are you interested in picking a financial planner for retirement? We specialize in retirement income planning, investing, and tax planning leading up to and through retirement for individuals age 50+ who have over $1 million in investments.



 

Disclosures: Covenant Wealth Advisors is a registered investment advisor with offices in Richmond and Williamsburg, VA. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital. The views and opinions expressed in this content are as of the date of the posting, are subject to change based on market and other conditions. This content contains certain statements that may be deemed forward-looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected. Please note that nothing in this content should be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any security or separate account. Nothing is intended to be, and you should not consider anything to be, investment, accounting, tax, or legal advice. If you would like accounting, tax, or legal advice, you should consult with your own accountants or attorneys regarding your individual circumstances and needs. No advice may be rendered by Covenant Wealth Advisors unless a client service agreement is in place. Hypothetical examples are fictitious and are only used to illustrate a specific point of view.







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