Choosing a
  Financial
Advisor




Tips for Finding
and Working
With Financial
Planning Professionals




          Ensuri...
Financial Planning


With the complexity of the financial choices
available today, many people are turning to
professional...
Types of Planners


The first step in considering advisory services, and
in finding the right person, is to understand how...
Finding an Advisor


Because almost anyone can solicit business as
an advisor, it’s important to consider several
candidat...
Checking Credentials


One of the best sources of background
information is Form ADV, which most
advisors are required to ...
How TIAA-CREF Can Help


TIAA-CREF is ready to work with your
financial advisor. Our advisor website
www.tiaa-cref.org/adv...
Questions for
Prospective Advisors

What professional designations do you hold?

What is your educational background and
r...
Financial Planning
Organizations

Here are some organizations that can
help you find an advisor in your area and
check cre...
You may also want to contact the following
agencies to check on an advisor’s regulatory
history:

•   National Association...
TIAA-CREF: A Tradition of
Excellence Since 1918

TIAA-CREF is one of the most respected names
in the financial services in...
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Financial Advisor

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Financial Advisor

  1. 1. Choosing a Financial Advisor Tips for Finding and Working With Financial Planning Professionals Ensuring the future for those who shape it. SM
  2. 2. Financial Planning With the complexity of the financial choices available today, many people are turning to professional advisors for help in setting goals and finding the best-suited savings, investment and insurance products. Since there are several kinds of advisors, with varying fee arrangements and fields of expertise, finding the right professional can be a challenge. Most people seeking financial help want a written plan incorporating the following kinds of services: • An analysis of current finances, including a calculation of net worth • Help in identifying and prioritizing financial goals • Help in designing a budget (income and expenses) that accommodates savings goals • A determination of investment risk tolerance and advice on managing investments • Advice on taxes, estate planning and insurance coverage • Development of an action plan and implementation schedule. Since planners are involved with critical financial decisions, it is essential to carefully review each candidate’s credentials, experience and reputation.
  3. 3. Types of Planners The first step in considering advisory services, and in finding the right person, is to understand how different kinds of professionals are compensated. Fee-Only Planners charge either a flat or hourly rate to create a plan, or a percentage (typically 1% to 3%) of the value of the assets they manage for you. By refusing any compensation other than client fees, these advisors can remain unbiased and work only in their clients’ best interests. Fee and Commission Planners (or “fee-based” advisors) charge fees that are generally lower than fee-only advisors, but they supplement the fees with commissions from the investment and/or insurance products they sell to you. Commission-Only Planners are compensated solely from the commissions generated by the financial products you purchase when you implement your plan. In addition to understanding the commissions and/or fees the advisor receives, it is also essential to get a full accounting of all the loads (sales charges) and other costs the recommended company may charge directly to new customers. Stay on Top of Your Finances Even if you are working with a trusted advisor, you should go over every decision carefully. Here are some suggestions: • Always get the advisor’s advice in writing. • Check financial statements to make sure the advisor is following your instructions. • Never agree to any investment you don’t fully understand or sign anything you haven’t reviewed.
  4. 4. Finding an Advisor Because almost anyone can solicit business as an advisor, it’s important to consider several candidates and get as much background as you can on each. If you have a lawyer, accountant, or someone else who can recommend a planner, that may be a good place to start. You can also contact professional associations such as NAPFA (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors) or the FPA (Financial Planning Association) for a referral. (See the reverse side for contact information.) Many advisors have earned professional desig- nations, which can provide an objective measure of education and expertise. Look for a: • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) • Member of NAPFA • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) • Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) Most of these designations require that the advisor complete an education program on investments, taxes, estate planning, retirement planning, insurance, or other subjects. Most also require that advisors have related work experience or education, that they fulfill a continuing education requirement, and that they adhere to an ethics code.
  5. 5. Checking Credentials One of the best sources of background information is Form ADV, which most advisors are required to file with regulators. Part I of Form ADV provides information about the planner’s business and education, and discloses legal or financial troubles the advisor may have had. Part II outlines the advisor’s services, fees and strategies. Advisors are required to give you Part II of Form ADV at the first meeting, but you should ask to see Part I as well. The CFP Board of Standards and NAPFA require their financial advisors to sign an ethics code and/or fiduciary oath stating that the professional will act in good faith and in the best interests of the client. This means the advisor must provide written disclosure of any conflicts of interest which may compro- mise the objectivity of the advice.
  6. 6. How TIAA-CREF Can Help TIAA-CREF is ready to work with your financial advisor. Our advisor website www.tiaa-cref.org/advisors provides a range of services and facilities to make it easy for professionals to conduct business on your behalf. Your advisor can also use the site to access account information and perform transactions for you, if you have authorized him or her to do so. In addition, TIAA-CREF provides a wide range of retirement planning services you can access directly, as well as products to serve a full range of savings goals and insurance needs. T find out about what TIAA-CREF o has to offer – or to speak with a TIAA-CREF representative concerning the use of financial planners – please call us at 1 800 842-2776, 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. ET weekdays and 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET weekends.
  7. 7. Questions for Prospective Advisors What professional designations do you hold? What is your educational background and recent employment history? What is your specific area of expertise? How are you compensated? What hourly rate, flat fee, and/or commission do you charge? Do you always disclose, in advance, the types of compensation you receive? May I have a copy of your Form ADV? Are you a full-time planner or is your practice incidental to other activities? Have you ever been cited by a professional or regulatory organization or been sued by a client? Can you provide references? Get the answers to these questions in writing.
  8. 8. Financial Planning Organizations Here are some organizations that can help you find an advisor in your area and check credentials: • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) Referrals to Professional Financial Specialists (PFSs), CPAs who do financial planning. 1 888 777-7077 www.cpapfs.org • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards CFP referrals and licensing confirmations. 1 303 830-7500 www.cfp-board.org • Financial Planning Association (FPA) Referrals to local CFPs. 1 404 845-0011 www.fpanet.org • National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) Online referrals to local fee-only advisors. 1 888 333-6659 www.napfa.org • Society of Financial Service Professionals Referrals to local Chartered Financial Consultants (ChFCs). 1 800 392-6900 www.financialpro.org
  9. 9. You may also want to contact the following agencies to check on an advisor’s regulatory history: • National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) 1 800 289-9999 www.nasdr.com • North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) www.nasaa.org • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) 1 800 732-0330 www.sec.gov
  10. 10. TIAA-CREF: A Tradition of Excellence Since 1918 TIAA-CREF is one of the most respected names in the financial services industry. Established in 1918, TIAA developed the first portable retirement plans. CREF introduced the world’s first variable annuity in 1952. Today, TIAA-CREF serves the retirement needs of more than 2.2 million people at over 10,000 universities, hospitals and other institutions. The TIAA-CREF companies also offer a wide array of other products, including mutual funds, IRAs, personal annuities, insurance, trust services, and tuition savings programs. Whatever your financial goals, the TIAA-CREF companies have the experience and expertise to help you pursue them. TIAA-CREF Individual and Institutional Services, Inc. and Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc. distribute securities products. For more complete information on securities products, call 1 800 842-2733, ext. 5509, for prospectuses. Read them carefully before you invest.Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA), New York, NY and TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company, New York, NY, issue insurance and annuities. TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB, provides trust services. Investment products are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not bank guaranteed. 730 Third Avenue New York, NY 10017-3206 ©2001 T eachers Insurance and Annuity Association- College Retirement Equities Fund, New York, NY Printed on recycled paper A9439 (5/01)

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