Helpful Ways To Choose The Right Financial Advisor


The relationship between many people and their finances is troubling: More than half of Americans say they feel way behind where they should be with their emergency savings, almost 80% have admitted to feeling anxious about their financial situation, and thanks to the worsening retirement crisis, the number of U.S. workers above the age of 75 is expected to nearly double over the next 10 years.

Given today’s turbulent economic environment, it's more important than ever to seek sound financial advice. One way to go about strengthening your finances is by working with a financial advisor, who can create a personalized plan for your specific needs. Choosing a financial advisor can feel like a daunting process, so how do you know when you’ve found the right one?

Passion is Paramount

My father was a firm believer in the saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I live out this philosophy every day as I help guide people toward a stable retirement. I enjoy my work so much that a running joke with my clients is, “Don’t tell anybody, but I would do this for free.”

Now am I saying you should ask a potential advisor if they love their job enough to work for free? No, but I am saying that it should be clear they are passionate about their work. Their main focus should be cultivating a meaningful relationship with you. When you’re having a conversation with them, they should be asking you all kinds of questions to learn about your unique story, dreams and goals.

Going Beyond the Money

You also want to consider a holistic and independent financial advisor whose approach to financial planning goes beyond portfolio management to include tax strategy, legacy planning, Social Security and health care coverage. An ideal financial firm has attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs), Medicare professionals and experienced Social Security professionals working in their office to assist with all of your needs under one roof. This eliminates the inconvenience of having all of your services scattered in different places.

Good Financial Advisors Don’t Compete

The field of financial advisory centers around service and impact, which in my opinion means advisors focus more on serving families and positively impacting lives than bringing in new clients or getting more assets under management. We know there is a tremendous need for our services, so we’re not competing. We look at one another as colleagues with a common purpose. We respect one another, exchange ideas and root for our collective success. At the end of the day, we want to know that people are getting the financial support they need. It’s not about whose firm has more clients.

So, what does all of this mean as you search for a financial advisor? Carefully gauge the sincerity of the person you’re potentially going to sign on with. How someone speaks about other practitioners in their field says a lot about their character. It’s also an indication of how they might treat you as a client.

An advisor who truly has your dreams and goals in mind will have a thorough process for finding out if their firm can fully support your needs. They’ll ask the right questions to ensure they can help you reach your goals. My mantra is that I can’t serve everyone because I’m only one person.

Great service is about quality over quantity. If you try to serve everyone, you will not adequately serve anyone. For me, it's about properly guiding those who walk through my door to find out if I’m a good fit for their financial needs or if I can point them in the right direction.

Risk Disclosure: Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance does not guarantee future results. This material is for information purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information; no warranty, expressed or implied, is made regarding accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of any information. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. For illustrative use only.

Jason LaBarge, financial advisor and president of LaBarge Financial

7 Riggs Avenue, Severna Park, MD 21146 443-647-4321

Securities offered only by duly registered individuals through Madison Avenue Securities LLC (MAS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory products and services made available through AE Wealth Management LLC (AEWM), a registered investment advisor. MAS and LaBarge Financial are not affiliated entities.


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