When you were younger and likely had fewer personal and professional responsibilities, hiring a financial advisor was probably the very last thing on your mind. However, as you pass basic milestones, like buying a house, starting a family, and investing in stocks or properties, your financial life becomes increasingly more complicated.

At some point, you will realize that hiring someone to monitor, track, and grow your finances is the best way to go to ensure financial health. Still, making the decision to hire a financial advisor is only the first step. No two financial advisors are alike, so here’s how to pick the one that’s best for you.

1. Before interviewing financial advisors, figure out what you want.

There are various reasons why you may be hiring a financial advisor, the most common being that you feel clueless about making major financial decisions. Still, you’ll have to have a basic understanding of what your goals are, so that a potential advisor thoroughly understands where you are now and where you will want to be in the future. Make a thorough list of all your financial plans—how much money you want to save, how soon you want to get out of debt, or what investing options interest you.

2. Look for an advisor who will explain your finances until you understand.

Finances are complicated, and it takes someone with lots of education and experience to understand all the details. At the same time, however, the job of a financial advisor is not all about completely taking the reins. A good advisor will involve you in every single decision by helping you understand all the ins and outs of finance. If you interview a financial advisor who comes across as impatient, it’s best to find someone else.

3. Ask for each potential advisor’s credentials.

Even if your financial advisor sounds like he knows what he’s doing, to ensure that he or she is competent, be sure to ask for credentials. This means requesting certifications and asking about their educational background.

4. Never hire a financial advisor until you receive references.

All the education and certifications in the world won’t necessarily make a good practicing financial advisor. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential hires to a handful, make sure that you request references from former or current clients who have worked with the advisor for at least a year, preferably more. When you speak with references, be sure to ask specific questions about how the advisor handled different financial problems.

Once you find a good financial advisor, you’ll be amazed at how much more attuned you’ll be with your money. Of course, even if you find an incredible advisor, you’ll still be left with lots of hard decisions to make. The best advisor will see you through the decision-making process the whole way through. Good luck!

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams.

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