How to find a financial adviser

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Question: I’m 57 years old and late to the party. I do not have much money socked away nor do I have investments outside of my retirement fund, and I never seem to really understand my retirement fund from work. Despite all this, I’d like to grow what little money I do have, and I’d like to understand my retirement funds from work. Is a financial advisor someone who can help me? Help! (You can use this tool to get matched with a financial adviser who might meet your needs.)

Have a question about your financial adviser or looking to hire a new one? Email [email protected].

Answer: Better late than never! And the good news is that the answer is yes, there are financial advisers who will work with people without a lot of assets — though your choices may be more limited than someone with a pile of investments. 

“Your best bet would be to search for a fee-only adviser by searching either the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) Find An Advisor site or the Garrett Planning Network. In your case, you may be best served by working with an hourly advice-only advisor who doesn’t have a preset minimum wealth requirement to work with you,” says certified financial planner Lisa Weil of Clarity Northwest Wealth Management.   (You can use this tool to get matched with a financial adviser who might meet your needs.)

Certified financial planner Zack Hubbard at Greenspring Advisors agrees that an hourly or retainer-based adviser would likely be your best option. “An hourly adviser can help you set up your savings plan and put your strategy in place on more of a project basis. A retainer-fee adviser can help you set up your plan and assist with ongoing monitoring and management,” says Hubbard. Use this guide to help you understand how to vet and interview potential financial advisers.

You also can look into free advice. “The Financial Planning Association and NAPFA both offer pro bono services, workshops and newsletters that may help you gain more financial confidence,” says certified financial planner Steve Stanganelli of Clear View Wealth Advisors. 

If you prefer a more hands-on approach, a financial adviser may be useful. Alana Benson, investing spokesperson at NerdWallet, says a financial adviser can be helpful because they can get to know your specific financial situation. “Whether you want to understand a workplace retirement plan, create a budget or start investing, an adviser should be able to help,” says Benson.

The good news is that whichever route you choose, or if you decide to do both, it’s never too late to start saving. “You have to start somewhere,” says certified financial planner Grace Yung. (You can use this tool to get matched with a financial adviser who might meet your needs.)

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