Our Parents
Senior Health
Senior Living Options
Finances & Legal
Products for Seniors
About Us
A brown banner with the OurParents logo

5 Tips to Find a Financial Advisor for Seniors

Written by Kristen Hicks
 about the author
4 minute readLast updated April 21, 2023

For many seniors and their families, money issues are a lot to figure out alone. Your parent has to figure out how to live comfortably on their retirement savings and social security. They have to think about the long-term expenses of aging in place and senior care. Many seniors will also experience dementia or memory issues that make it increasingly difficult to stay on top of their finances — something it’s better to prepare for long before you reach that point. Working with a financial advisor can help you and your parent create a long-term financial plan and break down how to handle their spending each month to achieve it.

Let our care assessment guide you

Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.

How to find a financial advisor

Americans generally don’t score well when it comes to financial literacy. People of all ages struggle with finding the right mix of investing, saving and spending, but seniors face a number of unique issues when it comes to managing their finances well.
Since many people have knowledge gaps surrounding their finances, it’s important to find a financial advisor who’s ethical, knowledgeable and able to help your parent with their particular situation.
Here are a few tips to find someone that checks all those boxes:

1. Ask for referrals

A recommendation from someone you  or your parent knows is always a strong place to start when finding someone for just about any need. Ask around to see if you have friends or family who have worked with financial advisors before. If you’re on social media, ask for recommendations there.
Different advisors have different specialties, so don’t assume off the bat that all the recommendations your parent receives will be a good fit. If people offer up suggestions, go a little deeper and ask them about their particular experience with that financial advisor to learn more, and do some Googling to see what their website and reviews can tell you.

2. Check industry databases

If asking around didn’t get your parent a list of good options, have no fear. There are a few professional databases they can search to find qualified financial planners in their area:
  • Certified Financial Planners (CFP): This directory has listings for certified financial planners. It allows your parent to limit the results by specialties including elder care, retirement income management and retirement planning, and your parent can limit results to fee-only professionals here as well.
  • Financial Planning Association (FPA): This is a listing of everyone with certified financial planner status who’s a member of the Financial Planning Association. After putting in their location information, your parent can narrow their results based on specialty (including life planning and retirement) and they can limit their results to fee-only professionals (recommended for reasons explained below).
  • National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA): This is a listing of fee-only financial advisors who are members of the association. They also offer filters based on specialties.
If your parent is considering recommendations they got from friends, it’s worth running the names through these directories so they can verify if they’re certified and make sure they’re legitimate.

Let our care assessment guide you

Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.

3. Make sure they’re a fiduciary

Fiduciaries are legally required to work in the best interests of their clients. Other financial advisors aren’t necessarily fraudulent, but they make at least some of their money by recommending specific products from banks and insurance companies that pay them for the recommendation. It’s difficult for them to be 100% sure if they’re suggesting something that’s truly the best option for you, or if they’re just getting paid to say that.
For that reason, a fiduciary is the way to go. You can narrow your search down to just fiduciaries by looking for financial advisors that say they’re “fee-only” or that show up in the NAPFA search above.

4. Don’t put too much trust in titles

Not all certifications are equal. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has found over 50 fake or misleading credentials that target seniors specifically. Knowing the difference between the legitimate titles and the ones that just sound good is hard for anyone to do, though.
You can help your parent do a quick search for certifications claimed by a financial advisor in Paladin’s credential checker to learn if they’re legitimate and what they can actually tell you about a person’s experience and knowledge.

Talk with a Senior Care Advisor

Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.

5. Meet in person

Any search for the right financial advisor has to include this step. Use the tips above to determine a few good possibilities (and weed out those who aren’t a good fit) and then set up a few appointments to talk.
Come prepared with details about your parent’s financial situation, their long-term goals, and any questions you or your parent may have.
Finding a good financial advisor can be tricky, but once your parent does, they’ll have a clearer picture of how to stay financially healthy throughout their senior years. Take some time to research and make sure they’re choosing someone who’s qualified and will put their needs first.


Meet the Author
Kristen Hicks

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom (of which OurParents is a trademark) and the reader.  Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site.  Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.