How to Choose a Financial Advisor

Uncover the crucial yet often-overlooked factor of shared values when choosing a financial advisor, in addition to expertise and trustworthiness. Learn how the right advisor not only helps you make sound financial decisions but also aligns with your life goals, ensuring a long-lasting and fruitful relationship.

How to Choose a Financial Advisor

If you’re looking for a financial advisor, you’ve likely found the hundreds of articles floating around the internet aiming to answer this question. They’ve been written by everyone from the Wall Street Journal to blogs like The Simple Dollar. All of them bring valuable insights, so why write another? Because there is one last, essential criteria that is mostly forgotten.

First, for those who haven’t had the chance to read all of those other articles, let me summarize their main points for you.

Things to look for in a financial professional:

  • Listens attentively. This is key. If someone is going to understand your goals and your values they must listen. It’s imperative they ask good questions and the answers to those questions shape their advice.
  • Puts your interest ahead of their own. While this might seem like a no-brainer, it isn’t. This is not required of everyone who calls themselves a financial planner or financial advisor. In fact, anyone can use these titles, regardless of qualifications. That’s why it’s helpful to look for a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER or CFP, as they are held to a strong standard of competency and placing their clients’ interests ahead of their own.
  • Answers your questions clearly. If you find yourself listening to your future advisor and understanding very little of what they are telling you, then it’s probably time to look elsewhere. The job of a financial advisor is to create clarity, not confusion.
  • Empowers you to make informed decisions. This is closely tied to the previous point but an important distinction. The decisions that you make with the assistance of your advisor must be YOUR decisions and you need to have a grasp of why you’re making them. Don’t settle for less.
  • Experienced and trustworthy. These are obvious, right? Experience is easy to put on paper, so it won’t take long to know if someone is experienced. Whether or not someone is trustworthy isn’t as easy. That’s why it is important to get to know the individual with whom you are going to work.

Things to avoid:

  • Promises to “beat the market.” Besides the possibility that this individual is violating some serious financial industry regulations, they are also lying. They might try to beat the market but to consistently do so involves a functioning crystal ball or Magic 8 Ball – all a bit questionable if you ask me. Since we can’t know the future, a good financial advisor helps you plan for what you have control over and prepare for the unexpected.
  • Pushes products or services. This goes back to putting your interests first. One size does not fit all is a truism in financial planning, if your advisor is more concerned with selling you a product than creating a plan tailor fit to you then there is a problem.

While this is a thorough list full of important considerations, there is one essential point left unmentioned:

  • Shared values. I’m not talking about whether or not you like cilantro or if you prefer your toilet paper to hang forward or backward (though clearly these are important). I’m talking about things like spending time with your friends and family, growing in generosity, creating a legacy that’s points to the things you care about most. While it’s not impossible, if your financial advisor doesn’t understand or share your values then it will be difficult for them to work with you to create a plan that prioritizes the things closest to your heart.

Why go to all of this trouble in selecting a financial planner? Because if it’s done right, hopefully you’ll only need to do it once or twice in your lifetime. If you can find someone who is the right fit they can walk through all of life’s decisions with you and provide that extra set of eyes that provides you the assurance you’re making the right choices for you and your loved ones.

The team at Peak Financial Management may be a great fit for you, so give us a call (303-255-2252) or send us a message ( so we can find time to talk through your situation. If we’re not the right fit, we’ll help you connect with someone who is.

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