- Interview more than one adviser. Comparing advisers allows you to figure out whose financial approach best fits your goals.
- Conduct a background check. Just because an adviser is on the radio or quoted in the local newspaper doesn't mean he or she is qualified. Do your own research to make sure.
- Don't focus on cost. It doesn't matter how inexpensive—or expensive—an adviser is if he or she is costing you money due to bad financial decision-making. Try to find a balance between cost, services, and method of compensation.
- Don't be blinded by credentials. Focus on finding the right person, not the person with the right combination of letters after his or her name.
- Avoid hiring a friend or family member. When you do business with a friend or relative, you let your guard down—not a good idea when your finances are involved. And if the arrangement goes bad, you could lose money and an important relationship.
Published February 7, 2011