Woodbridge Investments

Financial Advisors for the Rest of Us


It’s a piece of advice that show up in almost every article, blog post or TV show about money management – “talk to your financial advisor.” Of course it’s sound guidance, but unless you have serious wealth to manage (or a family member who is really smart about money) you are unlikely to have your very own financial advisor.

Many of us think that financial advisors only want to talk to people who are very well-off. And we’re right, the majority of Financial Advisors only deal with deep-pocket clients who need investment advice. But there are plenty of professionals who are happy to work with ordinary people who are just trying to figure out how to make the most of whatever money they have.

Finding Your Financial Advisor

Start with your bank or credit union, they may have professional financial advisors on staff who can answer your questions about a specific issue, or can review your overall financial situation and give you some money management pointers.

Advisors can also be found through community organizations and membership groups. AARP, for example, offers their members access to financial planning professionals. Your trade association, union, community college, senior citizens center, local chamber of commerce, or other groups often provide access to financial experts. They may offer workshops or one-on-one advice sessions at a discounted rate.

You can also look for a “fee-only” financial advisor. The “fee-only” designation indicates that the advisor may be available on an hourly basis. They will typically charge around $200 an hour. A good place to start your search for a fee-only financial advisor is through The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). When you set up the appointment tell the advisor whether you need advice and insight on a specific issue, or a general financial overhaul.

Another good place to look for an advisor is in the Garrett Planning Network. Advisors in this network are committed to making their services affordable and accessible to people who need help managing a financial situation such as an inheritance, windfall, or other big financial events.

Also, don’t forget to see who is in your network. If you’re a member of LinkedIn or other social networking services, ask your contacts for recommendations. If you’re not an online expert, ask a friend or family member to post your request to their professional network.

Screening Your Financial Advisor

Be clear on what services you want. For example, if you need some information about selling a structured settlement, you probably don’t want to talk to an investment advisor. On the other hand, if you’ve just won the lottery, an investment advisor is probably the right person you should talk to.

Your advisor should be a Certified Financial Planner, which indicates they have professional experience, has completed advanced training, and passed rigorous exams. Look for “CFP” after the advisor’s name. You can check an advisor’s credentials on www.cfp.net.

You should trust and be comfortable with your financial advisor. Ask him or her to explain any advice that you don’t understand, rather than just telling you what to do.

A financial advisor can help you budget, save for retirement, understand how to handle sudden influx of cash, such as a lump sum that you can receive for your annuity or structured settlement.

To find out more about selling your structured settlement or annuity to Woodbridge Structured Funding, you can review Frequently Asked Questions about structured settlements here, or call us at 1-800-708-0422 to get a free quote.