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5 Tips to Find a Financial Advisor for Seniors

Written by OurParents Staff
 about the author
8 minute readLast updated February 23, 2024

For many seniors and their families, money issues can be challenging to understand without guidance. Additionally, many seniors experience dementia or memory issues that make it increasingly difficult to stay on top of their finances — something that’s better to prepare for long before it becomes an issue. Working with a financial advisor for seniors can help you and your parents create a long-term financial plan and ease some of the confusion that comes with handling financial decisions as your parents get older.

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Although people of all ages can struggle with finding the right mix of investing, saving, and spending, seniors often face several unique issues when it comes to managing their money and staying out of financial trouble. With these gaps in knowledge surrounding finances, it’s even more important to know how to pick a financial planner for retirement who’s ethical, knowledgeable, and capable of guiding your parents through their particular financial situation.
A financial advisor can help your aging parents with any questions they have regarding finances, but it can still be hard to know who to choose. The following tips can help you find someone who checks all the necessary boxes.

1. Ask for referrals

A recommendation from someone you or your parents know is always a good place to start when searching for someone you can trust. Ask around to see whether you have friends or family who have worked with financial advisors before. If you’re on social media, you can also ask for recommendations there.
Different advisors have different specialties, so don’t assume that all the recommendations will be a good fit. If people offer suggestions, go a little deeper and ask them about their experiences with these financial advisors to learn more. You can also do a quick web search for reviews and testimonies from others who have worked with your preferred financial advisor to ensure you’re making the best possible choice.

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2. Check industry databases

If asking around didn’t result in viable options, there are a few professional databases you can search to find qualified financial advisors for seniors in your area:
  • Certified Financial Planners (CFP): This directory has listings for certified financial planners. It allows you to filter results by specialties, including elder care, retirement income management, and retirement planning. You can also limit results to fee-only professionals.
  • 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 your parents’ location information, you can narrow results based on specialty, including life planning, retirement, and fee structure.
  • 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 parents are considering recommendations they got from friends, it’s worth running the names through these directories so you can verify that they’re certified as well.

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.
For this reason, fiduciaries are usually the best financial advisors for seniors. This is true even if you need financial advice for low-income seniors or families. 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 database.

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4. Don’t put too much trust in titles

Not all certifications are equal. Knowing the difference between legitimate titles and those that sound good is essential to finding a good financial advisor. Fortunately, you can do a quick search in Paladin’s credential checker for certifications claimed by a financial advisor to find out whether they’re legitimate. This tool also helps you see what each certificate means in terms of experience and knowledge.

5. Meet in person

Any search for the right senior financial advisor has to include an in-person meeting. Use the tips above to determine a few good possibilities and schedule a few appointments to discuss your loved one’s specific needs. Come prepared with details about your parent’s financial situation, their long-term goals, and any questions that you or they might have.
Finding a good financial advisor can be tricky, but once you do, you’ll have a clearer picture of how to help your parents manage finances throughout their golden years. Take some time to research so you can make sure you’re choosing someone qualified to provide financial advice for seniors who will put your loved one’s needs first.


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OurParents Staff

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