The Advice Financial Planners Only Share with Their Siblings
A little-known loophole about paying off debt, plus more insider guidance from money experts.
Be a Really Tough Interviewer
When you are moving to a new state, you know you need to confirm your new adviser is a CFP (certified financial planner) or CFA (chartered financial analyst); and to avoid no-fee CFPs (if they aren't being paid by you, then they're probably earning a commission from insurance companies and mutual-fund firms whenever they sell their products, which is a definite conflict of interest). But you may not know to beware of other "alphabet soup" designations. According to Peggy Cabaniss, president of HC Financial Advisors
, who has been an investment adviser for more than 25 years, if a potential adviser tells you, "I'm a CDP," that means they're a certified divorce planner—which is probably only significant if you're going through a divorce. Compared to brokers and investment advisers, financial planners are the least regulated group of financial professionals
, so don't assume that a plethora of letters after a planner's name makes him or her extra qualified to advise you on general issues. Check the NAPFA
websites, which have directories of fee-only financial advisers.