Managing your money can be difficult, especially when you’re young. You may still be in school, trying to pay your way through, or you’ve recently graduated and are feeling the heavy burden that is student loans. You hear your parents, professors, colleagues, and others around you telling you to find a financial advisor to set you up for future financial success, but did you heed their advice yet?
Probably not, and I get it. Talking about your financial struggles with a stranger can be intimidating. Maybe you fear they won’t fully understand what your goals are because of a generational gap between you two. However, I believe if you commit the time and energy to finding the right financial advisor, your future self will thank you. Sophia Bera, a millennial financial planner, has laid out five things to be sure to look for when seeking advice on your finances.
Her first piece of advice is to find an advisor who is within the range of 10 years age difference from you. Having someone that is closer in age to you will help them understand your life circumstances. They are either experiencing the same struggles as you or have recently overcome such struggles. They will be able to provide constructional advice on how to handle these situations. This will also lead to them having a comprehensive view of what your goals are. According to Sophia, she only advises on investing about 20% of the time with her clients. The other 80% is spent discussing where to save money in everyday activities and throughout your goals. If you have a love for travel, she knows great hacks, such as using credit card points for either free or cheap flights and can help you navigate your expenses.
When researching advisors, look for Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) who are also “fee-only.” CFPs are financial planners who have worked in the field for some time and have extensive knowledge to aid their clients. They also must have taken (and passed!) a difficult examination to earn their certification. Sophia also suggests that the financial advisor you hire is “fee-only” because they will be able to provide advice that is unbiased because they are not trying to sell you on any additional products.
Another helpful tip is to find someone who is willing to work around your schedule. We all know how frustrating it is to find time to schedule appointments, especially if you’re working the typical 9-5 job or are still in school full time. Many financial advisors have flexible hours for their clients and are willing to connect with your virtually. Meetings held over Skype, and Google Hangouts are becoming increasingly more popular. This can also open up the opportunity to find an even better fit of a financial advisor that may be located across the country.