The 5 Most Important Qualities to Seek in a Financial Planner

School of Financial Wellness

A checklist of qualities to look for in a good financial advisor

One of the most important financial decisions you can make is choosing an effective financial planner. That’s because your financial planner can make the difference between financial stress and financial success. Your relationship with your financial planner should be a long-term partnership based on trust and mutual respect. With the right financial partner, you can set yourself on the right path toward reaching your goals and feel more confident in your financial future.

The problem is there’s probably a small army of financial professionals in your area. That means you have a lot of choices when you’re looking for the right professional to help secure your financial future. So, where do you begin?

1. Financial Planners Should Have Integrity

Integrity is top of the list for us and for our clients. In many professions, integrity is subjective, dependent upon your individual professional standards. But, in the world of financial planning, there are certifications that bind financial planners to certain ethical standards.

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS™, for instance, are required by the CFP® Board to adhere to certain rules of conduct and ethical standards, which are constantly being updated to match the pace of business and innovation. If a CFP® violates those standards, he or she is subject to disciplinary action that can include permanent revocation of their CFP® status.

At Meld Financial, we believe integrity goes beyond the requirements of a CFP® certification. We believe that financial planners should be committed to helping you achieve your financial goals in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident. That’s why we encourage our clients not to be swayed by unintelligible jargon or overconfidence. The best financial planners take pride in being of service, not being a know-it-all.

2. Financial Planners Should Have Situational Awareness

You may not immediately think of situational awareness when you consider financial planning, but we consider it a vital part of the process. Good financial planners work diligently to understand their clients’ unique situation, gaining a firm grasp of each individual’s goals, risk tolerance, and overall financial picture. If a financial planner considers each client’s financial situation before designing a plan to achieve his or her goals, they have situational awareness.

At Meld Financial, we have developed a comprehensive program that ensures our advisors are situationally aware. We call this proprietary program Financial Fingerprint™, and over the years, it has become core to how we approach every client relationship.

3. Financial Planners Should Have Robust Financial Knowledge

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS™ have to satisfy certain educational requirements to obtain their certification. So, completing the mandatory coursework is fundamental. But when we talk knowledge in this context, we’re talking about more than classes and degrees.

Strong financial planners understand that the work of an advisor is complex. This work includes not just financial planning but tax planning and estate planning, retirement planning and wealth management. It involves analyzing different products and investment vehicles, plus the associated risk, and making the right recommendations for clients. Further, it requires a deep and studied understanding of each individual client and the ability to adapt strategies to fit their individual situation. In short, financial planners need more than education – they need knowledge.

4. Financial Planners Should be Experienced

Knowledge comes with experience. That is why ‘experience’ is another of our top 5 things to seek in a financial planner.

Your financial planner should have experience working with a variety of clients. In addition, your planner should understand how to build trust and tailor recommendations to each client’s needs. Finally, your financial partner should have weathered good financial climates and bad. That doesn’t mean you need a financial planner with gray hair and grandchildren. It means you need someone who has made every year in their career count, building a track record of success.

5. Financial Planners Should Have a Diverse Team of Experts at their Disposal

While it’s important to understand the various individual qualities that your financial planner should bring to the table, it’s just as important to remember that the best financial planners don’t act alone. Your financial picture is complex, and as good as any one person can be, you will get the best bang for your buck with a team of financial professionals at your disposal.

These specialists should be fluent in taxes, estate planning, law, and wealth management to ensure your financial plan is as comprehensive as possible. A financial planner should also have staff members who can support the team, allowing each professional to focus on his or her specific focus area. When your financial planner has the freedom to focus on what matters most to your financial plan, you will undoubtedly have a better chance at success.

Finding a financial planner who checks all those boxes may seem like an impossible task, but we assure you, they are out there. And, knowing what to look for will help you cut through the noise of the crowded financial advisory industry and find the right person for you.

Contact a Financial Planner at Meld Financial

If you are looking for a financial planner that is client-centric, experienced, and honest, look no further than the team at Meld Financial. Through our decades of experience helping clients build and maintain their wealth, we have developed a proprietary financial planning process called Financial Fingerprint™.

Financial Fingerprint™ is more than a budget. It’s a comprehensive financial plan that is quick to assemble, easy to understand, and simple to modify as your circumstances change. And, when you partner with Meld, you get access to our experienced team of tax, legal, and financial professionals that support your financial plan every step of the way. To get started, contact us today.

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Why Meld Financial?

Meld Financial, Inc. is an independent wealth management firm located in Birmingham, AL.

We specialize in financial planning, investment management, employee benefits and executive benefits for individuals, families, trusts, foundations and institutions.

We provide independent and objective services melded with customer-driven financial goals.

Mark McGarvey - Chairman - Meld Financial

“We will always recommend the same course of action we would choose for ourselves, given the same circumstances.”

-Mark McGarvey, Chairman