October 12, 2009
(NewsUSA) – The current struggles of the economy have many
Americans cutting back on everything from fuel and gas to retirement. With so many facets of life
affected, the need for expert financial advice is greater than ever.
"The first step is to decide which aspects of your overall financial picture require
professional help," said James J. Tyrpak, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, AEP, president of the Society of
Financial Service Professionals. "If you need help funding a college education, for example, you
want to make sure the adviser you choose has strengths in that area."
Tyrpak offers the following tips to help consumers choose a financial
-Ask about the adviser's educational background and professional credentials. Because
there are no state or federal laws requiring advisers to meet minimum requirements for education
and credentials, virtually anyone can represent themselves as a "financial planner." Professional
credentials help ensure that the person has the education and training to provide you with informed
advice and ethical service.
-Find out whether the adviser will provide an initial meeting at no cost. During that
meeting, ask the adviser to explain the process for preparing a plan. This may include gathering
financial data, setting goals and determining how much risk you can tolerate. Be sure that you and
the adviser agree on what will be included in the plan, before it is written.
-Understand whether the adviser will have access to your money. Be sure the agreement
clearly states, in writing, the extent to which the adviser has authorized access to any of your
-Ask yourself whether you would feel confident working with this person. Once you're
convinced that the adviser is qualified in terms of education and experience, you will want to make
sure you feel at ease when discussing confidential financial details and your personal financial
For more information, visit www.financialpro.org and click on "Consumer Info."