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Important Considerations for Choosing a Financial Advisor in Washington, DC

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When people in the Washington, DC area need a financial advisor, they are often concerned about how to choose the best one for their particular financial situation. Unfortunately, almost anyone can call themselves a financial advisor.  It is important to be diligent in checking out a financial advisor in Washington DC before making a commitment.

Considerations

Choosing the best financial advisor depends almost entirely on the goals of the client.  If a person is trying to figure out how to maximize their retirement savings, they will have a totally different goal from someone trying to manage a large inheritance for their children.  So the first consideration in choosing a financial advisor is for the client to decide on their end goal.

A second consideration is to determine if the client really needs an advisor.  Many times clients have more resources than they realize.  If a client is able to educate themselves they might not need an advisor.  If a client is already an accountant or has a banking background or works in a financial field, they may be able to make the decisions on their own.  There are hundreds of books available to help people make up their own minds about how to handle their money.

Once a client decides they want outside help with their money, they need to choose which kind of financial advisor in Washington, DC that they might need. There are many different kinds of financial advisors. If tax issues are the only problems people need help with, sometimes an ordinary CPA is all that is needed.

In complicated situations, a client might need to seek out a CFP professional.  This is a financial certification program that tells clients that the planner has experience in the field, has particular educational credentials, and has passed a demanding exam.

If the client is mostly interested in what happens to their money after their death, then they will want to turn to an estate planning lawyer for their financial advice.  The lawyer can draw up the legal documents to carry out the client’s estate plan.  They can also help set up plans to make sure the client’s wishes are carried out if the client is no longer able to take care of things on their own.

Perhaps a client only wants a financial planner to help out during a divorce.  There are financial planners who have earned a designation as a CDFA – a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.

Once a client decides what kind of financial advisor they need, there are a few more things to consider.  Mainly, people should think about how much they can afford to spend on advice.  This is a more important consideration than people may realize.

When a type of advisor has been chosen, and the budget has been worked out, the client needs to verify the credentials of the advisors they are considering.  Lastly, the client should schedule interviews with a few people.  It is important to have someone that the client feels comfortable talking with.

Ieva Ofer
the authorIeva Ofer