With all the complicated financial transactions and decisions you have to make these days, you will more than likely work with some sort of financial professional. Whether it be someone providing you general investment advice, selling you stocks and bonds, doing your taxes, helping you take out a loan or securing your insurance coverage, there are a few key questions to ask any of them.
AARP recommends that you take your time. Rarely would you ever need to hire someone or purchase anything on the spot. Consider asking some or all of these questions:
- How are you licensed and qualified to provide me this service? How can I verify that?
- Have you ever had any disciplinary problems in this profession? How can I verify that?
- How does this product/service meet my needs?
- How much does this product or service cost me in total including commissions, fees, ongoing charges, etc.
- Do you receive any commission or fee from the product or service provider? If so, how much?
- How will you follow up with me to ensure I am happy with this product or service?
If the speaker can't or won't answer your questions to your satisfaction, maybe they are not right for you. However, when you do find the right one, stay on your toes and make sure they continue to make you feel confident, comfortable and satisfied with what they're providing you.
Some Places to Get Help With the Above Questions
The best place to check out the financial professional is with your own state government. The organizations below can help you find the state agency that will check out a financial professional or help if you feel there has been a problem with one already.
- Investment advice, selling you investments – North American Securities Administrators Association
- Doing your taxes – National Association of State Boards of Accountancy
- Helping you take out a loan – Conference of State Bank Supervisors
- Securing your insurance coverage – National Association of Insurance Commissioners
The bottom line is that savvy consumers will not be rushed but will do their homework. You have worked too hard for your money — consider carefully who you let work with it.
Also of interest: The imposter scam strikes again. >>