If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: You need to invest for retirement, especially if you want to retire early.

That means, at some point, you’re going to need a financial advisor—someone who can explain complex investments in terms you can understand. 

Finding the right financial advisor near you may seem intimidating, but it’s not that difficult. You just need to remember a few things.

What is a Financial Advisor?

A financial advisor is a qualified professional who will help you understand your retirement, college savings or other investment goals. A good pro speaks in terms you understand and is committed to educating and empowering you to make decisions about your financial future.

Manage Your Own Money

No one else will feel the regret and pain of losing your hard-earned money like you will. Some celebrities and pro athletes lose their entire fortunes because they let other people manage their investments for them. While that might be the plan people making millions of dollars each year use, that’s not the plan you want to use—even if you make millions of dollars.

Be confident about your retirement. Find an investing pro in your area today. 

Your retirement—and having money in retirement—is your responsibility. It’s your money and your future, so don’t be shy about taking charge of it! If you haven’t thought about what your investments might look like when it’s time to retire, calculate your estimated retirement savings with our Investment Calculator.

A good financial consultant is smarter than you are about investing but knows you still call the shots. If an advisor wants you to do something simply “because they said so,” find someone else to partner with. You aren’t hiring a parent—you’re gathering counsel. You want someone who will guide you to make the best decisions for you.

Hire a Financial Consultant Who Helps You Make Smart Decisions

You can’t make an informed decision with your money if you don’t understand what you’re investing in. That’s why it’s important to look for an ace who takes time to help you learn about your investments.

Avoid sales-minded pros or “experts” who make you feel dumb for asking questions. The right financial advisor will explain every detail to you until you get it—no matter how long it takes.

See how ordinary people built extraordinary wealth in my new book, Everyday Millionaires.

How to Choose a Financial Advisor

When evaluating a potential financial expert, you need to be prepared to ask some questions that will help you make an informed decision and choose the right advisor. There’s an entire section on questions to ask an investment professional in my book, Retire Inspired.

Here are a few questions that can help you choose the best financial advisor for you:

• What can you tell me about your experience as an investment professional?
• How long have you done this type of work?• What type of clients are you looking for?
• How will I have access to you for questions?
• How often will I be able to communicate with you?
• How often do you communicate with your clients?

There are a few larger questions you are going to want to ask that I’ve detailed below that will help you find the right financial consultant.

Know How Your Financial Advisor Is Paid

When evaluating a potential financial expert, make sure you know how they will be compensated. In other words, are they on a commission or are they fee-based?

There are positives and negatives to each approach, and professionals on either side have extreme levels of integrity. Just watch for possible conflicts of interest. If a pro won’t give you a straight answer about how they’re paid, then you may have a problem.

Investing Philosophy Is Important

No matter what, you want a financial advisor who can clearly explain their investing philosophy. Make sure they have a long-term investing strategy that is right for you and is willing to take your opinion into account.

Another great question to ask when an advisor recommends a particular fund is: Do you personally invest in this fund yourself? If an advisor is confident enough in a fund to invest his or her own money, that can give you some confidence.

If It Doesn’t Feel Right, Walk Away

If something doesn’t feel right about a potential advisor, then keep looking. Hiring an expert can be difficult, and you have to feel good about the relationship. Interview as many financial consultants as it takes to find someone you can trust to educate you on your options so you can make investment choices that are best for you.