Need a financial planner
September 6, 2004 5:30 PM   Subscribe

How do I find a good financial planner?

My wife and I have a new child. We want to make him as secure as we can as well as saving toward retirement and other financial goals. We'd like to find a good advisor to help us proceed wisely, but we're not sure how best to find or choose such a person. I know large investment firms offer services along these lines but I suspect they exist in part to push their firm's own investment vehicles, and we'd prefer more independent advice. (We may also need mildly specialized expertise in one area: we both commute across state lines, which makes for a more complex tax situation.)
posted by Songdog to Work & Money (5 answers total)
Who does your taxes? Most C.P.A.'s also give investment advice, and naturally they're quite good at it - if they've been doing returns for a while they see what's out there, what works for people in your situation - and what doesn't. They give good specialized tax advice too.

I have a good CPA in town - referred to me by a co-worker; nearly all his clients are physicians. You might try asking some of your co-workers where they get their taxes done, which is a pretty inoffensive question.

By the way, most CPA's will charge for their time in giving this type of consultation. I'm much happier to pay up front, for exactly the reasons you're suspicious of large firms :)
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:30 PM on September 6, 2004

Great answer trharlan! I've been thinking about this question quite a bit recently as well. I'm about to get married and we're talking about starting a family 18 months to 2 years.

I'm lucky enough to be pulling in more financially than is going out (though it took quite a while to pay off some high interest credit card debt I ran up in college when I didn't know any better). I'm now doing monthly investing (cost dollar averaging) into a few different ETF's using, in addition to maxing out my yearly contribution to a 401k plan that my employer offers. I'm also looking into getting enough term life to cover my soon-to-be wife if something happens.

It still feels like there are holes missing in what I'm doing, and I had been asking around about CFP's that friends/family would recommend. Unfortunately, I'm in a better position financially than most of the people I know so they aren't that much help. I've pretty much decided that at this time it'd be best for me to take care of myself (pretty much what trharlan says above).

Are there any books that people would recommend along these lines?

Any financial websites/blogs/internet communities?

From what I've seen of, they're no where near the financial resource that they used to be. They've turned into a money grubbing website that's the opposite of what they had counseled against in years past.
posted by freshgroundpepper at 12:28 AM on September 7, 2004

My spouse and I went to our local bank. They have a person working with them whose job title is financial planner. I thought this type of job would be a conflict of interest, but she works in the bank but not really for the bank (directly). At any rate, we went through an interview process and she made a bunch of good suggestions which we're going to follow. Perhaps your bank has a similar service.
posted by plinth at 3:14 AM on September 7, 2004

Response by poster: Thank you all for your suggestions!

trharlan: a fee-only financial planner sounds promising, but again, how do I find one?
posted by Songdog at 5:46 AM on September 7, 2004

Songdog, try the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. All their members are fee-only. They have a web form you can fill out to find a planner. (Note: I did this, and got quite a few brochures in the mail).
posted by profwhat at 9:54 AM on September 7, 2004

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