How to Vet a Financial Adviser

Be sure to interview a few options and check into their backgrounds before hiring someone.

Interview a few advisers before you settle on one. Having conversations with the advisers will also give you a feel for how your personalities mesh. Ask questions, and check out their credentials and disciplinary history, too.

The Interview

Make sure you understand the basics. What are the adviser's certifications, and what services does she offer? Is she a fiduciary? Find out more about her specialties. Does she focus on areas where you need help (say, estate planning and retirement-account withdrawal strategies), and does she work with other clients like you? What's her overall philosophy on financial planning and investing? Also ask how many years she has been in practice.

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Lisa Gerstner
Editor, Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine

Lisa has been the editor of Kiplinger Personal Finance since June 2023. Previously, she spent more than a decade reporting and writing for the magazine on a variety of topics, including credit, banking and retirement. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.