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Cincinnati frequently tops lists of the most affordable cities to live in the United States. It was also just named the cheapest city for renters four years in a row. As a relatively low cost of living city, the Queen City is a great place for financially-minded professionals to call home.

If you’re looking to obtain financial freedom, hiring a Cincinnati financial advisor can help you attain your goals.

That being said, not all financial advisors are created equal. There can be a wide range of options that vary in terms of who is advising you, how much it costs, and what the services consist of.

Are you wondering what you should be looking for in a financial advisor? Let’s dive into everything you need to know.

Understand Your Options

There are a number of different services that can fall under the term “financial advisor.” This can include everything from in-person traditional financial advisors to robo-advisors.

Hiring a local, traditional financial advisor can have a lot of benefits. When you go this route, you’re working with a local expert that can help you work towards your financial goal. This is also a great option for people who have complex financial circumstances or who desire specialized services.

Online financial advisors can be a bit more affordable than in-person financial advisors. However, they come without the benefit of an in-person connection with the person you are entrusting to guide you on your investments.

Robo-advisors can be a reasonable option for people who only have a small amount of money to invest. However, they lack the personal attention of online or local financial advisors.

Consider Education and Experience

Before you hire a financial advisor in Cincinnati, you’ll want to review the educational background and experience of your prospective advisor. This will give you the opportunity to learn why a specific advisor might be best suited to aid you in your financial goals.

A good place to start is the website of different Cincinnati wealth management companies. There you will be able to learn about their planning practice, qualifications, and thought process.

You can also get more specific information through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or through the state of Ohio. Broker Check is also a useful tool that is provided for free from FINRA.

Look Into Their Certifications

You want to know that your advisor has gone the extra mile when it comes to expanding their personal finance knowledge base. One approach to gleaning this information is by learning about the certifications that they hold. Consider learning about the upfront and ongoing requirements for attaining and maintaining these certifications.

One certification you can look for is that of CFP. When you hire a certified financial planner in Cincinnati, it means that they have met extra requirements in both education and experience. There is an additional layer of protection as well as they are held to an ethical standard by the Certified Financial Planner Board.

Learn About Fees and Conflicts of Interest

It’s a good idea to understand how a given financial advisor is compensated. That way, you can get a sense of both their potential conflicts of interest and incentives.

It is common for advisors to be paid through commissions, client fees (“fee-only,”) or a combination of commissions and fees (“fee-based.)

When commissions are involved, it can create the opportunity for more conflicts of interest. This is because advisors are less able to separate their own interests from your interests. You can learn more about our fee-only services here.

It’s worth understanding the two sets of compliances that advisors must follow in the financial industry. One is the fiduciary standard while the other is referred to as the suitability standard. The best option is the fiduciary standard, which means that your financial advisor has a legal obligation to act in your best interest.

This means that fee-only, fiduciary advisors will never put their own interests before yours. The same cannot be said about the suitability standard.

The pricing models for advisors usually involve one of the following:

  • An hourly fee
  • A flat or fixed fee
  • An assets under management fee

No matter how payment is structured, it’s a good idea to identify and consider the fees that you will be responsible for.

Working Relationship

It’s important to understand who you will be working with and how often before you sign on with a Cincinnati fee only financial planner.

Some financial planners will provide ongoing support throughout the year. However, others will have an initial meeting with you upfront and only infrequent check-ins after that.

Some of those that provide more robust support will even help you coordinate with other service providers. This might include accountants, insurance agents, and mortgage brokers.

Are You Searching for the Right Cincinnati Financial Advisor?

Hiring a Cincinnati financial advisor is not a decision you will want to make on a whim. If you choose a financial advisor quickly and without research, you could find that you are paying too much in taxes and fees or even end up losing money.

It’s worth taking the time to research financial management groups in Cincinnati and other financial advisors. That way, you’re ensuring that your money is being taken care of.

At TAAG, we offer a fee-only financial planning model that provides you with the financial support that you need to achieve financial freedom. It’s never too early to get started on your journey towards financial health. If it’s time for you to take your financial future into your own hands, contact us today!