There are many resources you can turn to for free financial advice, depending on your financial or life circumstances. Keep in mind that your banking advisor is not a free financial advisor. There is usually a minimum amount he wants you to keep investing there to maintain services. You may want to work with your bank because you already have a relationship.
However, it is important to make sure that your bank's investment services are right for you. Many counselors offer a free first consultation. If you're not sure if you need counseling, you can schedule an appointment to find out what they can do for you. Each year, a group of non-profit organizations, including the PIC Standards Board, which administers the designation of certified financial planner, the Foundation for Financial Planning and the Financial Planning Association, host a “financial planning day”, in which anyone can meet with a financial planner.
Managing your investments properly and making the right financial decisions requires time, skill and effort. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is a non-profit organization that provides free financial counseling to people in debt, first-time homebuyers, student loan borrowers, small business owners, and more. Your bank or credit union should be one of the first places you go to for free financial advice because it is convenient and you are already familiar with the institution. When you talk to an advisor, you should explain what type of financial advice you provide and, if you are restricted, what you limit yourself to.
Financial advisors can offer a wide range of products and services, and help you with your financial circumstances at different stages of your life. So, if your to-do list is endless and you never have time to address your personal finances, you may need a financial advisor. Consider how counseling fees can be offset by the financial benefits that an advisor can provide and their alternatives. At some point, everyone needs to develop a long-term financial plan that includes considerations for retirement, paying for the house, funding their children's college education (if you have them), estate planning, and a timetable for when you can actually retire.
You should also interview several and make sure that your financial advisor can explain investment options to you and then allow you to make the decision. Adults 55 to 64 years old and 68% of people 65 and older said they could benefit from advice and answers to daily financial questions from a professional. It's important to understand your advisor's compensation structure because it can affect the type of advice you receive. However, if you make it clear that you want to invest conservatively, while preserving your capital at all costs, it would be contrary to the advisor's fiduciary duty to place you in an aggressively growing equity fund that is extremely volatile.
If paying a financial advisor saves you from making a bad decision every year or if you spot an opportunity that you missed, it is quite possible that your return on investment will increase, despite the commission. Therefore, although they offer “free advice” that may very well be tempting, these advisors generally earn commissions on the investments they sell to you. You may want to start with a financial planner or investment advisor and then start investing on your own once you have a better understanding of the markets.