Common Questions About
Q Who can use the term "financial
A The government does not regulate financial
planners as financial planners; instead, it regulates
planners as stock brokers, insurance agents or
investment advisers, depending on the services
they provide. As a result anybody can "hang
out a shingle" and call himself or herself
a financial planner. CFP Board's brochure titled
10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial
Planner can help you look for someone who is qualified
to offer financial planning advice. The brochure
contains questions to ask during an initial interview
with a planner to help you determine if he or
she is right for you.
Q Why should I choose a financial planner
over another type of financial adviser?
A A financial planner should focus on your needs
first before recommending a course of action.
Most planners have been trained to take a broad
look at your financial situation, while accountants,
investment advisers, stockbrokers or insurance
agents may focus on a particular area of your
financial life. Always ask a financial adviser
what qualifies him or her to offer financial planning
services. Read descriptions of different types
of financial advisers >
Q What is the best age to start financial
A While it is true that the younger you start
the more beneficial the process will be, financial
planning is worthwhile at any age. Although younger
people may have more decisions to make regarding
their financial lives, changing laws and circumstances
can lead middle-aged people and seniors to have
to adjust their financial plans as well. Changes
in tax law, for example, may require many people
to revisit certain investments or estate plans,
and adequate disability planning becomes more
important as people age.
Q How are financial planners paid?
A There is currently no uniform method by which
financial planners are paid. A planner can be
paid by a salary paid by the company for which
the planner works; by fees based on an hourly
rate, a flat rate, or on a percentage of your
assets and/or income; by commissions paid by a
third party from the products sold to you to carry
out the financial planning recommendations; or
by a combination of fees and commissions whereby
fees are charged for the amount of work done to
develop financial planning recommendations and
commissions are received from any products sold.
Be sure to ask the planner how he or she is paid.
Q Do I have to pay a financial planner
for the first interview? How much does a planner
A Most financial planners will provide you with
one free half-hour or hour meeting to talk about
your reasons for wanting to work with them. During
these initial interviews, the planners will also
decide if they can help you and explain how they
would work with you. Like other professionals,
the rates financial planners charge depend on
their experience, geographic location, level of
services and your needs. Interview more than one
planner to get an idea of the going rate for financial
This archive contains
articles and newsletters written by Cornerstone
Financial Planners on various topics.
here to browse!