How to Select the Best Financial Advisor for your Retirement Years

More that 76 million baby boomers are quickly moving into retirement, and they need qualified retirement planning and income advice. How should they best determine who can successfully help them navigate this very important part of their financial life?

Since there are no laws preventing basically anyone from calling themselves a “financial advisor”, there are quite a few people out there who are willing to provide financial advice and help you invest your money – and in some cases take your money.

So how should you narrow the field? Experience can be a good starting place. If your advisor was a golf pro or short order cook within the last few years, they may not have adequate experience to guide you through the many retirement decisions that you will need to make.

But one of the best ways to determine whether or not your advisor can provide you sound retirement advice is to ask them about their credentials. At bare minimum your advisor should have completed either the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) program or received the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.

A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is probably the best-known credential. Graduates must take a series of courses, pass a two-day, ten-part exam, and complete three years of work experience to earn the CFP designation. In addition, the planner must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years to keep the credential. The coursework usually takes a couple of years or more to complete and covers virtually all aspects of financial planning for individuals.

Though the ChFC® may not have quite the same name recognition, a ChFC has taken nine or more college-level courses on all aspects of financial planning from The American College, a non-profit educator with the highest level of academic accreditation. But either designation will insure a solid baseline of financial advice.

Though the above two designations indicate that your financial planner takes their duties and responsibilities seriously, if they have obtained Chartered Advisor for Senior Living (CASL) status they are truly committed to helping you achieve retirement success. Other designations provide a strong foundation for a broad range of financial planning concepts, but only CASL® designation delivers the rigor and specialized knowledge needed to be truly effective in retirement planning.

Additionally, your needs should be at the heart of all your planner’s recommendations. Your financial advisor should consider your situation carefully, then give you advice that best meets your financial goals.