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Work sheet: Questions for financial planners

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Your first meeting with a prospective financial planner should be a free consultation -- a chance for you to ask questions about credentials and get a feeling for his or her style of communication. At a loss for what you should ask? Use the questions below as a guideline:

  1. What experience do you have?
  2. What are your qualifications?
  3. What licenses do you hold?
  4. Are you registered as an investment adviser?
  5. What services do you offer?
  6. What is your approach to financial planning?
  7. Will you be the only person working with me?
  8. How will I pay for your services?
  9. How much do you typically charge?
  10. Do you get additional compensation or financial incentives for selling particular products?
  11. Could anyone besides me benefit from your recommendations?
  12. Do you have an affiliation with a broker/dealer?
  13. Do you insist on managing client assets, or are you willing to give advice to clients who wish to maintain control over their own brokerage account(s)?
  14. Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your professional career?
  15. Do you have a written client agreement?

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