We are a Fee-Only Registered Investment Advisor providing Financial Planning, & Wealth Management Services.
Anyone can call themselves a "Financial Advisor", but how does your advisor stack up? What are the questions you must ask to determine if you are receiving the unbiased financial advice you deserve and require?
Does your "Financial Advisor" place your interests first? Is he/she required to?
Not all financial advisors have a fiduciary duty to place the needs and interests of their clients first. I know this sounds odd, but the truth is only Registered Investment Advisors have a legal fiduciary duty to place the needs and interests of their clients first. Stockbrokers and other financial salespeople need only to ensure the investments and other products they sell you are "suitable" for your financial situation. A Registered Investment Advisor is an advisor who is held to a higher standard!
Does your "Financial Advisor" earn commissions on products he sells to you? Is that a conflict of interest?
Many people who refer to themselves as financial advisors are really commissioned salespeople in disguise. If your advisor receives compensation based only on the products you buy, how objective is the advice you are receiving if the only solution to your problem involves a commission paid to your advisor? Is there a better way to ensure you receive objective advice untainted by sales commissions? Fee Only advisors will usually have their interests aligned with yours without having to sell you something to solve your financial problem.
Does your "Financial Advisor" have the experience your situation requires? How would you know?
A CPA is the professional you would look for if you wanted a tax professional. An Attorney is the professional you would look for if you wanted legal advice. You wouldn't consider medical advice from anyone who wasn't an M.D. or other specialist. Who would you look for if you wanted a professional who was experienced in personal finance? A Certified Financial Planner or CFP is the proper credential you would seek out if you wanted to ensure your financial advisor has the qualifications and experience you deserve when it comes to your personal financial situation.
Northbay Advisors is a "Fee-Only" Registered Investment Advisor and Dan Peterson is a Certified Financial Planner who has been a CFP since 1987.