Questions to Ask a Financial Adviser

Looking for a financial advisor (e.g., financial planner, counselor, or coach)? Here are some questions to ask according to the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE):


  • What experience do you have? Ask for a brief description of financial professionals’ work experience and how it relates to their current practice.
  • Is there an oversight body requiring ongoing education and ethics? Ask about the credentials a professional holds and learn how he or she stays up to date with current changes and developments in the personal finance field.
  • What services do you offer? Asks about credentials, licenses, and areas of expertise that determine the services a financial professional can offer.
  • What is your approach? Make sure a professional’s philosophy and approach aligns with your needs and values. You also may consider your financial professional’s personality and communication style and personal compatibility. 
  • What types of clients do you typically work with? Some financial professionals prefer to work with clients whose assets fall within a particular range or are of a certain age.
  • How much do you charge?  A financial adviser should provide an estimate of possible costs based on the work to be performed.
  • How will I pay for your services? Financial professionals can be paid in several ways (e.g., fees and commissions). As part of a written agreement, an adviser should make it clear how they will be paid for the services to be provided.
  • Do others stand to gain from the financial advice you give me?Ask the professional to provide you with a description of any conflicts of interest in writing.

Consider requesting a referral. Also ask whether an adviser has ever been disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions.

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