How to Hire a Financial Advisor that Doesn't Suck
TLDR: Hire a fee-only advisor who works for a smaller firm.
I’m a financial advisor. I get lots of calls from people shopping around for a financial advisor. It’s obvious they don’t know WTF they’re doing. Why would they? They know as much about my profession as I do about buying a dishwasher. Not a goddamn thing. So, here is my advice on how to find a financial advisor that won’t fu*k you over.
1. BE CAREFUL. A lot of us are douche bags. Most people enter finance to make money. People who base their careers on making money tend to be douchey. Some of us do like helping people. Often times these people are women. If a financial advisor has a vagina, it’s usually a good sign.
2. MAKE SURE YOU LIKE THEM. We’re all going to give you similar advice. We differentiate ourselves mainly through customer service. So make sure you like your financial advisor. Most advisors will have a free call with you. If you’re feeling their vibe, that’s important. Start on Yelp and reach out to the top 3 financial advisors in your city. If you don’t like any of them, call 3 more. Don’t just hire your parent’s financial advisor.
3. SMALL FIRMS USUALLY PROVIDE BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE. Big companies like Charles Schwab, Fidelity and Merrill Lynch will only be nice to you if you have at least $500,000. At the risk of sounding like a hippy, these big corporations don’t give a fu*k about you. Go with the little guy.
4. MAKE SURE THEY’RE A FIDUCIARY. You don’t need to know what a fiduciary is. Just know, that if they’re not a fiduciary there’s a 100% chance they sell drugs to children.
5. MAKE SURE THEY’RE FEE-ONLY. A lot of financial advisors get kickbacks from a 3rd party when they convince you to invest in something. This is like a doctor receiving $100 from Pfizer every time they recommends Viagra to a patient.Fee-only advisors are NOT allowed to receive kickbacks for recommending investments to you. This keeps their recommendations honest and pure.
SUMMARY: Hire a financial advisor who meets the following criteria:
Has decent Yelp reviews
You liked speaking with them over the phone
Is a Fee-only advisor
Works for a small firm