There are myriad titles and certifications for those offering financial services—what kind of advice and services do you need, and whom do you ask? Start your search here.
The Coalition for Investor Education categorizes investment advisers by three main types: brokers, financial planners and investment advisers. The primary activity of a broker is buying and selling securities on behalf of customers. Financial planners help develop comprehensive financial plans based on customers’ long-term goals. Investment advisers provide ongoing management of clients’ investments based on each client’s objectives.
Another way to look at saving for retirement is to put at least 10 percent of your gross income aside for your nest egg. If you’ve hit 50, and haven’t started saving for your retirement, better increase this to at least 20 percent.
When interviewing potential financial-services providers, ask about the specific services they provide, if they were required to be certified to offer those services, and how the provider earned those certifications. Then ask yourself if you want to work with someone who sells financial products, gives in-depth advice or a combination of both.
The Coalition for Investor Education offers a free brochure designed to guide investors through the process of choosing an investment-services provider. “Cutting through the Confusion: Where to Turn for Help with Your Investments,” is available on the Web site of the North American Securities Administrators Association Inc.: www.nasaa.org.