Protecting Your Wealth Tips for Picking the Perfect Financial Planner

Financial planning isn’t just numbers on a spreadsheet. Your goal is to craft a future where dreams are realized and loved ones are secure. The right financial planner can help.

Here are suggestions for helping you pick one wisely.

Different titles

A confusing array of titles can be held by those who render financial services.

A financial planner is a professional who helps individuals and businesses manage their finances. They provide various services, including creating budgets, developing investment strategies, and planning for retirement.

Financial planners can also advise on taxes, insurance, and estate planning. Ultimately, their goal is to help their clients achieve financial security and reach their long-term financial goals.

A financial advisor is someone who provides financial advice and guidance. They can help with various financial matters, like investments, retirement planning, and wealth management.

While “financial planner” is often used interchangeably with “financial advisor,” there can be some differences.

A financial planner typically focuses on creating a comprehensive plan, including budgeting, tax planning, estate planning, and investment advice. Many financial advisors also offer comprehensive financial planning services, so the differences between the two can vary depending on the individual professional and their expertise.

A Registered Investment Advisor is an advisory firm that provides investment advice and manages investment portfolios for clients. They are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or state securities regulators.

RIA firms are held to a fiduciary standard, which means they must act in the client’s best interest and disclose any potential conflicts of interest.

Financial planners and financial advisors may or may not be registered investment advisors and   may not necessarily be held to the same fiduciary standard as registered investment advisors.

Credentials matter

When seeking the services of a financial planner or registered investment advisor, clients should look for specific credentials to ensure they are working with a qualified and trustworthy professional.

A key credential to look for is the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation.

A CFP designation is awarded to professionals who have completed rigorous education and training requirements and have passed a comprehensive exam covering various financial planning topics. Warburton Capital has 4 CFP® Professionals on staff.

Another key credential is an MBA, or Masters of Business Administration. MBAs have a broader education in business and management. They have typically completed coursework in finance, marketing, and operations. MBAs can bring a strategic perspective to financial planning and may better understand the overall business landscape. Warburton Capital has 2 MBAs on staff.

A holistic wealth management firm should also include expertise in Estate Planning. A Juris Doctorate (JD) with experience in Estate Planning can be a valuable member of a wealth management team. In addition, the Accredited Estate Planner (AEP®) credential is valuable and shows that holders have experience in Estate Planning topics. Warburton Capital has a financial advisor on staff who has experience both as a JD and as an AEP®

shows that holders have experience in Estate Planning topics. Warburton Capital has a financial advisor on staff who has experience both as a JD and as an AEP®

For investors looking for advanced expertise for High Net Worth or Ultra-High Net worth individuals, an advisor with the Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®) has learned more about these topics by attaining this advanced credential. Warburton Capital has a CPWA® on staff,

These credentials matter because they demonstrate that a financial advisor or financial planner has the knowledge, expertise, and commitment to act in their client’s best interests. They also indicate that the advisor has undergone rigorous training and testing and is held to high standards of professionalism and ethics.


Financial planners and financial advisors use several fee models.

One model is the commission-based model, where the planner or advisor earns a percentage of the investment transactions they recommend or sell. This can introduce a potential conflict of interest on investment recommendations, which is why Warburton Capital does not subscribe to this model.

Another is the fee-only model, where the planner or advisor charges a set fee (either a flat dollar amount or a % of assets under management) for their services, regardless of the investments made. The fee-only model with AUM-based fees can provide clients with transparent and unbiased financial advice because the advisor is not incentivized to recommend products that may not be in the client’s best interest. If conflicts arise, fiduciary advisors are required to disclose those conflicts to their clients.

Investment philosophy

Understanding a financial planner or advisor’s investment philosophy is essential in deciding whether to retain them.

Consider a financial planner or advisor who focuses on low costs, asset allocation, and global diversification and recommends funds that utilize an Evidence-Based investment methodology for your portfolio.

There’s compelling evidence these investment strategies give investors a reasonable chance to harness the market rate of return, net of taxes.

Red flags

When looking for a financial planner or advisor, there are a few red flags you should note.

Avoid advisors who promise guaranteed returns or seem too good to be true.

Be wary of advisors who push specific investments or products. They may prioritize their financial interest over yours.

Look elsewhere if an advisor refuses to explain their fees or seems evasive about their qualifications.

Due diligence

When vetting financial planners and advisors, conducting thorough due diligence is essential to ensure you work with a professional with your best interests in mind.

Check the advisor’s background and credentials on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) website, review their Form ADV on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website, and search for any disciplinary actions or complaints on the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website.

Final thoughts

Selecting a financial planner or financial advisor is paramount in your journey to safeguard your financial future.

Choosing the right professional is about blending knowledge with trust. Take your time, do extensive due diligence, and choose wisely.

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