Financial planners take the worry out of money management and make sure that the money is being protected and will last over time. However, the elderly need to be even more careful with their money and who they allow to handle it. Having a person they can trust should be their first concern. Once that fact is established, they can then proceed to ask a potential financial planner some questions that will determine if the planner is the right person for the job.
When it comes to your money, you can never be too careful. There are many people in the world who will tell you they have your best interest at heart, but unfortunately, that is not always the case. You have to really be thorough in checking out a potential financial planner so taking some steps now to avoid problems later is a good idea.
1. Try to take a trusted friend or relative with you. This is a good idea for many reasons. First, as the both of you listen to what the potential planner has to say, you can discuss it afterward and make sure the two of you agree on what was said and what the planner has promised to do. It's always good to have more than one opinion, and especially in this case. You have to decide if you like what you hear and that is a very big decision to make alone. Do you feel comfortable with this person? Do you feel you can trust him? These are things that should be well thought out before you come close to making a decision.
2. Are his fees reasonable in exchange for what he has agreed to do? You don't want to have this person start working for you and then be shocked when you get the bill. Get all the details in writing so there won't be any misunderstandings later. If there is, then you have the proof that's not what you agreed to. Make sure he understands this.
3. Make it clear how you want things done. Explain that you want to give him free reign with your money, to make purchases of stocks, bonds, etc. as he sees fit. This is convenient but not always the safest way to go. Instead, consider having him look out for your interests, but insist he get an ok from you each time he is going to make a purchase, sell stock, etc. What good is having a financial planner if he doesn't communicate with you about your most important possession - your money?
4. What is his experience and client track record? You will want to hire someone who has worked in the financial field long enough to make you comfortable. Plus, you will also want someone who knows enough about new things n the financial horizon that he can suggest to you. If he is truly looking out for your financial interest, he will be on the lookout for things that will help your money grow, and not just give you a lot of fast talking while your money goes in his pocket.
5. Be sure of your decision to hire before signing any agreement. Like any other agreement, it's always easier to get into it than out of it. So, to avoid problems later, make sure you feel comfortable with the planner and that you can trust his handling your financial affairs.
There are a lot of things in life that you can be a little carefree about, but hiring a financial planner isn't one of them. Do your homework, you'll both be happier in the long run.