I spoke to a financial advisor who was “very interested in talking about himself and his finances”. Should I run for the hills?

How can I be sure that I find a counselor who cares about me and my situation?

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Question: I need a financial planner, as I am looking to review my current financial situation and goals. The last person I spoke to was more interested in talking about himself and his finances, which wasn’t productive. How can I be sure that I find someone who cares about me and my situation? (Also looking for a financial advisor? This tool can help match you with one who might meet your needs.)

Answer: Some counselors find it important for the client to know something about how they handle their finances and others are strictly against sharing personal information. “Most often when I hear a financial planner share personal financial information, it is about selling envy, not financial planning. This tactic is usually taught as part of a high-pressure selling technique, and is usually for selling products, not advice or planning,” says the planner. Certified financier Mark Struthers.

And unless your advisor has a bankruptcy on their record, Struthers says it’s not necessary for you to know anything about their personal finances. “The only personal financial information I would ask a CPA or financial advisor to see is their credit score. Other data points are very personal and have nothing to do with the credibility of the scheme,” says Struthers.

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For his part, certified financial planner Steve Stanganelli says it’s sometimes appropriate to share financial details. “In my own case, I will share childcare costs from my experience when speaking with a client about young children or newborns. I will share my experience as a landlord with those considering direct real estate investing. I will share the advantages and disadvantages of tax planning for the self-employed with those who are already self-employed Or they think. For those dealing with elderly care or end-of-life issues for their parents, I will share with you what issues and frustrations I have.”

But, he adds, there’s a fine line between sharing helpful personal anecdotes and red flags to watch out for. “I think it is problematic if the advisor only talks about winning stock positions and never about market losses,” he says. (Also looking for a financial advisor? This tool can help match you with one who might meet your needs.)

Whatever way you share personal details, the bigger question is how you feel. And in your case, it’s not great, which is why you’re (rightfully) looking for a new advisor. “A financial planner should listen and focus engagement around you, not themselves,” says certified financial planner Danielle Miura of Spark Financials.

When looking for a new counselor, here are 15 questions you should ask the person. And in terms of finding someone who cares about your situation, that’s part instinctiveness and part ensuring that the way you’re paid aligns with your goals. Do they take a flat fee? A percentage of assets under management? Do they have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interests? sits Andy Rosen, investment spokesperson for NerdWallet. You might want to look for a fee-only certified financial planner, since they have to act as fiduciaries. “Knowing when your planner will benefit from your investments can also help you identify red flags,” says Rosen.

The bottom line is that if you feel uncomfortable, take it as a sign that the planner may not understand or care about what is in your best interest. “If you find it difficult to talk to your financial planner, it will be difficult to have frank conversations about your money, which is part of what you pay for,” says Rosen. (Also looking for a financial advisor? This tool can help match you with one who might meet your needs.)

Edit questions for brevity and clarity.

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