5 Places to Look If You’re Searching for a Personal Financial Planner

In this segment of “Financial Planning Q&A” on Motley Fool Live, recorded on Dec. 1, retirement expert Robert Brokamp gives his tips on finding a Certified Financial Planner.

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Robert Brokamp: Rob says, Great show guys. Thanks, Rob. I’m not being able to get a fee-only planner through your suggested sites. I’m sorry to hear that. Can you comment on the content in Wade Pfau’s guidebook? Is this in line with what you expect from other CFPs?

Here’s the guidebook right next to my desk, it’s Wade Pfau, P-F-A-U Retirement Planning Guidebook. Wade writes for financial planners. This is a very detailed book, a very academic book, a very technical book. A good certified financial planner will be familiar with this, and if you’re willing to read it you’ll learn an awful lot that a typical financial planner will recommend.

I recommend the book. If you still want to get a fee-only planner, and the sites that we usually recommend just for those other areas: Garrett, G-A-R-R-E-T-T. Garrett Planning Network; NAPFA, N-A-P-F-A, and then the XY Planning Network.

Another place to check if those three are not panning out for you is the CFP Board’s website. You just got to cfpboard.org, I think. They have a page there where you can look and see if there is a certified financial planner in your area.

Also, if you have any account with a big financial services firm, Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab, they all have financial planning services. Depending on the level of your assets, those services might be free. If you have a broker like that or you’re working with someone and you like their services and you trust them, I would look into their financial planning services as well.

Again, it might be free, it might be a one-time fee, it might be they add maybe another 0.30, 30 basis points basically a year, to provide that financial planning service. I would look into that as well.

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