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Educational Consumer Tips

Financial Planning

Author: Better Business Bureau

A financial planner should be able to provide the following: a clearly written plan, in language you can understand, containing a balance sheet of assets vs. liabilities, and explanation of goals with advantages and disadvantages of any course of action; options and alternatives for all investment choices as well as the risk estimated in each investment objective; specific suggestions for improving your personal cash flow; projects for shifts in the rate of interest, inflation and other situations that affect your future; a plan for liquidity in the event of emergencies; and a schedule for reviewing your financial progress.

Before you hire an advisor of planner the BBB suggests the following:
1) Investigate stockbrokers, financial planners and any other financial experts you may be considering
2) Take the initiative. Put together your own short list of potential advisors when you have identified your needs
3) Examine track records closely.
4) Interview several candidates. Ask for referrals
5) Check out company with BBB
6) You should be able to view your financial statements online
7) Beware of companies offering very high returns on investments.

The BBB suggests that you carefully check out the financial planner's credentials. In most states, financial planners are NOT regulated. Be on guard for "financial planners" who are no more than sales people for a particular type of product, such as stock or insurance. You should choose a broker who is compatible with your investment objectives and tell them about your financial circumstances. Avoid investments that you don't fully understand and risk no more than you can afford to lose.

FURTHER INFORMATION - Contact SC Attorney General Securities Division at 803-734-9916 to verify financial registration.

To check on the reliability or reputation of a financial planner, contact the BBB (, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards ( and the National Association of Securities Dealers (