What should I look for in a career/financial advisor?
June 26, 2011 3:34 PM   Subscribe

Career/Financial advice-filter: I’d like to hire a professional to help me assess what salary I would need to earn to make it worth my while to relocate, and I am unsure what qualifications to look for.

I’m an associate at a specialized law practice in a mid-sized, low cost of living city in [large state]. My current firm offers very generous compensation (by the standards of the region) including a large yearly IRA contribution. I enjoy the work and regard my current position as a very nice bird in the hand.

I was recently contacted by the head of a department of a much larger competitor in [large city] and offered what sounds like my dream job. If his description of the job can be trusted, the work is very similar to what I do now, but with more support and a number of other intellectually engaging features. They are looking to fill a specific position, and it’s unlikely that a comparable one will come open in the foreseeable future.

He has also declined to discuss salary with me, stating that a managing partner would discuss financial matters with me if I interview. He seems confidant that taking the position would represent a substantial financial step up for me, but I suspect that he may be underestimating my current compensation and overestimating the cost of living in my current location.

I’ve explained that that offer is very tempting, but that the most likely outcome of my interviewing is that I’ll decline with thanks and ask them to keep me in mind if a similar position comes open in the future. He’s expressed interest in my flying down to meet the potential co-workers and get a feel for the environment, regardless. I’ll be doing so in 3-4 weeks.

I do not currently have a financial advisor of any sort. I would like to hire a professional to help me assess what my bottom line should be. What sort of credentials should I look for in such a person? Is there a particular job title or buzz word that I should look for?

I’d also like to know what information I should be able to provide such a person. I currently have approximately $65,000 in relatively liquid assets. I own a condo, which I paid $105,000 for last year and have approximately $21,000 of equity in. I also have approximately $60,000 in a retirement account. I made approximately $135,000 in 2010, along with an untaxed retirement contribution of $20,000 and expect to make approximately $150,000-155,000 with a 22,000 retirement contribution in 2011.

I have approximately $35,000 in student loan debts which I intend to pay off in their entirety once my employment situation is settled. If I accept the position in the other city, I will immediately have to repay the $8,000 homebuyer’s credit I received last year and will most likely have to sell the condo at a loss. My research suggests that the housing costs in the other city will be approximately triple what I currently pay.

Is there any information other than the above that I should research and make my financial adviser aware of?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't forget to take into account the increased hours you will surely be working at the bigger firm, as well as the more difficult road to partnership. It sounds like you are in a sweet spot now where you are - don't underestimate the big fish/small pond factor. Make partner where you are, and other possibilities could open up to you down the road.
posted by yarly at 3:51 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

the best way to make a decision like this is to calculate everything you will lose and gain at different times and then convert it to a net present value. Compare the net present values of all your options and go with the highest net present value. Now this is strictly a logical way of thinking things through...and there is a lot more that can be said about what it is that you want to do with your life. If you will still be able to live comfortably and your gut tells you that you should do it, then go for it!
posted by mikesrex at 7:41 PM on June 26, 2011

How old are you/how many years of relevant experience do you have? What's your geographical location/area?
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:02 PM on June 26, 2011

I'd think a Certified Financial Planner would be the place to start, though I haven't used one for your particular situation.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:46 PM on June 26, 2011

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