Five Ways to Stay Safe When Choosing a Financial Advisor

Dear Friends,

Do you know the DIY ethic? It promotes that anyone is capable of performing a variety of tasks rather than relying on paid specialists. Thanks, Wikipedia.

Are you using a DIY formula to build wealth?

That’s downright dangerous.

If something goes wrong with managing money, it might impoverish you.

You might be unable to replace wealth lost due to a tragic mistake.

Why take the risk?

There are wonderful Financial Advisors all around you, doing excellent work. The trick is to find the right one. (And to keep safe from the wrong one.)

A referral is a fantastic starting place. But did you know that famed criminal Bernie Madoff’s swindled clients mostly came via a referral? One more step is needed beyond a referral.


Here’s a checklist to help keep you safe. Feel free to print or share.

Five Ways to Stay Safe When Choosing a Financial Advisor


There are lots of credentials used to identify and designate competent and trustworthy Financial Advisors, and here are the first two to look for:

a.)   A Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) is the gold standard in the financial planning industry because of the education, examination, financial experience, and ethics required to receive and maintain the mark. I regard the CFP® as a must-have. (For an expanded podcast explaining the work of Certified Financial Planners, check out this week’s interesting interview with CFP® Jane Cruickshanks.)

b.)  A Certified Kingdom Advisor (CKA) is the platinum standard because it integrates biblical faith into financial practice. A necessity? No. There aren’t many out there. Be sure your Advisor understands and supports the biblical principles that drive your financial decisions. If the Advisor has a membership with Kingdom Advisors, it will be an added benefit to them and you. (Make sure they are also a CFP®.)


Be aware of a Financial Advisor’s ethical (or criminal) record. Here’s how:


Your securities must be held separately and apart from your Financial Advisor by a bona fide custodian, such as Schwab or Fidelity. The custodian must always be someone other than the advisor. Bernie Madoff offered himself as both advisor and custodian. Sadly, his clients never knew which securities they owned, which turned out to be none at all. You should always be able to go online, anytime you like, for a live view of everything you own.


What services will be provided? Is there a system for investment management? For reporting? For client meetings?


Financial advisors are well worth their cost. Make certain it is transparent.


These are the bare basics. I have so much more to share with you about Financial Advisors in future letters. I’ll do a future podcast episode on “Financial Bad Guys–And How They Got Away With It.”

My prayer is that you increasingly enjoy the privilege and process of earning, saving, investing, and giving for the glory of God!

With warmest regards and excitement for the future before you,

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