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Finding Your Money Dream Team

Leap Systems

*Originally posted on*

The first step to finding a great money team is to recognize that ultimately you are 100% responsible for your financial decisions. This includes making sure you are educated and knowledgeable about not only “the what” of your plan, but “the why” as well. When finding great people to give you advice, they should have not only technical expertise but also behavioral competencies. Here are some great tips to help guide you as you build your own Money Dream Team:

Investigate their credentials

There are no required standards for anyone claiming to be a financial professional, but there are key indicators that you are dealing with a professional. They include looking at their licenses, education, and certifications. Some great ones to be on the lookout for include the CFP, ChFC, CFA, or CIC. If you are looking for specialized planning look for certifications like CDFA, RICP, CLU, BFA. For comprehensive planning, make sure your financial professional is licensed to sell products in all areas of importance, not just investments. ⅓ of a plan is not enough. Also, be wary of online money gurus who have no credentials, but feel free to tell you what to do with your money. These financial entertainers may not know anything about your personal situation and because they aren’t regulated, they have no obligation to be held responsible for the advice they give you.

Phone a Friend

While we all like getting recommendations from friends, be careful with this one. Just because your friend is happy with their financial professional doesn’t mean that person will be right for you. Your friends and family may have different goals and expectations than you do. So, ask a few important questions when getting recommendations:

  • What do you know about your financial professional's credentials and certifications?

  • How well do you think your financial professional understands your personal situation, values, and behavior?

  • How has your financial professional helped you prepare for emergencies and contingencies?

  • What personal characteristics does your financial professional have that appeal to you most?

Show me the money

There are many debates about whether a financial professional is unbiased or not, depending on how they get paid. However, in my experience, the way a financial professional gets paid has little to no bearing on the outcome of the advice. The key here is to find someone who cares about you and has a high level of integrity, as well as moral and behavioral competency. Will they do the right thing for you? You can begin to determine this by interviewing them first. Ask them the following:

  • What do most of your clients say about working with you? Can I speak to them?

  • What values are most important to you?

  • Can you share with me a time when you were asked to take action when you knew it was not in your client’s best interest? How did you handle this?

  • How do you handle working with difficult clients?

  • Tell me about a time when you made a mistake and how you resolved that mistake.

Don’t take building your money team for granted. Finding people you can trust takes time, but knowing that they will have your back and be transparent and honest with you is the key to getting you to where you want to be.

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