How to Choose a Financial Planner

Choosing a Financial Planner

Choosing the right Financial Planner is extremely important. Your financial advisor needs to be knowledgeable and trustworthy. They need to discuss and explain things, so you have a full understanding of your options and risks. Working with the right advisor is vital to your financial investment success.

The FPA of Hampton Roads has made it easy for you to find a financial planner. With over 140 local chapter members, you can pick the person who best suits your financial needs.


Find a financial advisor in Hampton Roads by clicking here



Need more information about how to choose a financial planner? Contact the FPA of Hampton Roads.


The Financial Planning Process


In order to find the right financial advisor, you need to understand the Financial Planning Process and how to choose a financial advisor based on areas of expertise and certification. The process can help you determine if and when you need an advisor, what questions to ask a financial advisor and the different ways they are compensated. Together, you can determine which areas of your finances you need assessed.


What Is the Financial Planning Process?


Financial planning is the process of establishing personal and financial goals and creating a way to reach them. The on-going process involves taking stock of all your existing resources, developing a plan to utilize them, and systematically implementing the plan in order to achieve your short-and long-term goals. Your financial plan must be monitored and reviewed periodically so that adjustments can be made, if necessary, to assure that it continues to move you toward your financial goals.

Let’s Get Specific…

In today’s fast-paced world, the demands on our time and resources can seem overwhelming. Comprehensive financial planning encompasses a number of critical areas, including retirement planning, estate planning, insurance, tax planning, investment management, cash management and budgeting. Depending on your needs, it may also include education funding, charitable and planned giving, trust management and long-term care planning.

Planning for your future can seem overwhelming because there are so many options to consider. However, if you start by answering five basic questions, you’ll create a foundation on which to base your financial planning decisions.

  1. What are your goals in areas like lifestyle, retirement, saving for college education and your health care as well as that of your dependents?
  2. When do you want to reach your goals?
  3. What steps have you already taken toward achieving your goals?
  4. How do you feel about taking investment risks for a potential higher rate of return?
  5. How involved do you want to be in monitoring your progress toward your goals?

The answers to these five questions will shape the profile of your financial plan and help you work closely with your FPA of Hampton Roads financial advisor.


Need more information about the financial planning process? Contact the FPA of Hampton Roads.


How do I know if I need a Professional Financial Planner?


Significant changes in your life can dramatically affect your finances. You may benefit from working with a financial advisor if you:

  • Want to assess your overall financial profileFinancial Planning Retirement
  • Have a change in marital status
  • Want to start your own business or prepare a business succession plan
  • Experience the death of a spouse or other close family member
  • Sell a major asset such as a business or piece of highly appreciated real estate
  • Want to leave a legacy to your family
  • Want to plan for and enjoy retirement
  • Want to diversify your investment to protect against a market decline
  • Need assistance in creating a savings plan for your children’s education
  • Purchase a home


Financial planning is a valuable process for anyone who wants assistance in determining strategies to meet short and long-term financial goals. Plus, with the help of your FPA of Hampton Roads financial advisor, you can overcome unforeseen life changes, while still working to achieve your life goals.


What questions should I ask when I interview a Financial Advisor?


Once you have determined your primary reasons for seeking financial advice, select several financial advisors to interview. You can search here for the FPA of Hampton Roads financial advisor that is right for you!

You may want to ask your family, friends or other professionals you work with, such as an accountant or attorney, for references or referrals for a financial planner. Then, schedule a meeting with each prospective professional. Many offer an introductory meeting at no cost. Prior to the meeting, request a written disclosure document called a Form ADV. Once at the meeting, if you feel you need more information, don’t hesitate to ask for it. In addition to the information you have already gathered, ask the financial advisor if he or she would like to add any details. After all, this person will play an integral role in helping you achieve your life goals.

Following is a list of suggested questions you can ask a planner:

  1. What is your business philosophy?
  2. How long have you been practicing financial planning?
  3. What did you do prior to becoming a financial planner?
  4. What is your area of specialty?
  5. Do you have a working relationship with other professionals?
  6. Can you provide references?
  7. What professional affiliations do you maintain?
  8. How will you incorporate my particular situation into the financial planning process?
  9. How do you prepare a plan? How extensive is it?
  10. Do you personally research products you recommend?
  11. How often will we meet as a result of my situation?
  12. How are you compensated for your various services?
  13. Are you a Certified Financial Planner CFP®? Click here to find out what makes a CFP® different and why you can benefit from a CFP®.


Need more information about the financial planning process? Contact the FPA of Hampton Roads.


How are financial planners compensated?


There are several commonly accepted methods of compensation:

  • Fee-only: The planner is compensated entirely from fees for purposes of consultation, plan development or investment management. These fees may be charged on an hourly or project basis depending on your needs, or on a percentage of assets under management.
  • Commission-only: There is no charge for the planner’s advice or preparation of a financial plan. Compensation is received solely from the sale of financial products you agree to purchase in order to implement financial planning recommendations.
  • Combination Fee/Commission: A fee is charged for consultation, advice and financial plan preparation on an hourly, project or percentage basis. In addition, the planner may receive commissions from the sale of recommended products used to implement your plan.
  • Fee-offset: Commissions from the sale of financial products is offset against fees charged for the planning process.
  • Salary: Some planners work on a salary and bonus basis for financial services firms.


In all of the above categories of compensation, you should request information on any real or potential conflicts of interest. In addition to commissions received from any financial product sales, you should ask whether there are outside incentives or bonuses to be gained by the planner for certain recommendations.


Contact the FPA of Hampton Roads today and get started building your financial future. (757) 274-6212


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