Meera Kashyap and her husband Suresh work as top executives in a BPO. They are your regular DINK – Double Income, No Kids kind of couple. With a high disposable income and few responsibilities, Meera and Suresh save a lot of money between themselves. Last year they decided to hire a financial adviser who would help them plan their taxes and investment strategies. A year later they found that Madhur (their financial adviser) used THEIR hard earned money to maximize HIS earnings, without any consideration for his responsibilities towards their financial welfare.

This is what happens when you trust people implicitly. Like Meera and Suresh, lakhs of investors all over the country realize their mistake only when it’s too late to do anything about it. You should not trust anyone when it comes to your money. So how can you hire a financial planner? If you cannot trust him/her, how can you expect to be helped? If you find yourself facing a similar situation, or if you are new to the world of income, saving and investments, this article is for you. Memsaab has put together a few pointers which will help you in choosing a financial planner who will work for YOUR benefit. Read on to find out how…

Who Should You Hire?

The First 5 Minutes: When you are out shopping for a financial adviser, the first 5 minutes are enough to tell you who you should NOT hire. When you sit down for your first meeting with a financial planner, ask him to suggest investment strategies for you. If he immediately starts selling products, RUN. Your financial adviser is supposed to devise an investment strategy specific to you, keeping in mind your income, responsibilities, spending habits, goals and lifestyle. Trust nobody who does not want to know about these things before suggesting options.

Evaluate Current Strategy: The next thing is to ask the adviser to comment on your current investments. Whatever he tells you about your current financial decisions will tell you a lot about his sincerity, knowledge and experience.

What’s On Offer?: Find out the services that he is offering. A good financial planner is one who takes all your problems away and gives you all the options possible. So he should be able to direct your investments anywhere you like. He should also file your taxes and take care of getting you the maximum rebate/exemption etc.

dumb Question: Ask him a simple question and make it look like you are really dumb. How does he deal with it? Does he keep saying that you need not bother yourself with the details, because he will take care of everything? Or does he take pains to explain to you in detail what you have asked? If he does the former, he is likely to cheat you and make money off you. But if he painstakingly gives your answers, he may be worth your trust.

Credentials: Don’t be afraid to ask him for his references, qualifications and credentials. Since you will be paying for his services, you have a right to know.

No matter how good or trustworthy your financial planner is, the bottom line is that you are responsible for your own financial security. So make sure that you are aware of everything that is being done with your money. All your financial decisions should be made by you, with his help and not vice versa.

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