Making the decision to hire a financial planner (or advisor) is an excellent choice for growing and protecting your wealth with your unique circumstances in mind.
The focus should be on finding a qualified, honest, and properly credentialed planner for your money. You should view this as a long-term relationship, so you also want to find an advisor (or a firm) that you can see yourself working with for years to come. It’s a relationship that’s second only to your immediate family and good friends!
Living in Las Vegas, you have some excellent options when it comes to finding a qualified advisor. However, you should know that not all “advisors” are created equal. It will take some research on your part, but it will be well worth it.
Financial advisors come in different flavors and in fact the term “financial advisor” is loosely thrown around and used by many in the financial industry—from insurance brokers to stockbrokers and everything in between.
Really, almost anyone can call themselves a financial advisor.
I am going to show you exactly what you need to know—and do—in order to find the best financial advisor in Las Vegas. The best advisors act in your best interests and won’t ever try to sell you products. One who earns your trust respect through professionalism, educational achievements, professional certifications, and experience.
Avoid this crucial mistake:
Your investment returns are important as they are a tool used to execute your retirement plan. But don’t only focus on investment returns, there are also many other important factors to consider, such as:
- Maximizing social security benefits,
- Minimizing taxes,
- Reducing and controlling debt . . . all while squeezing every last dime out of your finances!
The best financial outcomes require a holistic retirement plan to make sure you are doing everything you can in the areas of tax, investing, debt and credit, insurance, estate, and most importantly retirement planning.
To get started, first be patient and do your homework. Research potential Las Vegas financial planners, make a list and interview any potential candidates prior to paying or hiring them. You should feel comfortable with the advisor because you are going to be entrusting your financial future to that person.
Start with a shortlist of potential candidates, learn about them and their compensation model, interview each one, and use the various tools provided by national financial planning organizations to reach a decision.
Let’s look at the 5 steps you can take to find and hire a great financial advisor.
1. Look for a Las Vegas fiduciary financial advisor
But don’t just settle for someone who says they’re a fiduciary, get it in writing!
How will know if the financial advice that you are given truly is the best for you? The best solution is to find a fiduciary financial advisor.
What’s a fiduciary, you ask? Well, a fiduciary is a person who holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust with one or more other parties. Typically, a fiduciary prudently takes care of money or other assets for another person.
More importantly, a fiduciary must put your interests above their own. They have a “fiduciary responsibility” to ensure you achieve the best financial results possible
Unfortunately, almost anyone can technically call themselves a “financial advisor” or “financial planner”, but there are generally two types:
- A true fiduciary financial advisor, and
- A salesperson using a wide range of professional titles such as investment broker or wealth advisor.
Fiduciary financial advisors have a legal and ethical responsibility to act in your best interests and adhere to the fiduciary standard. An investment broker only has to adhere to the suitability standard. These two regulatory standards can make a big difference in the financial advice that you receive.
So, is the financial advice you are receiving really the best for you?
Your safest move is to find a Las Vegas fiduciary financial advisor that adheres to the fiduciary standard, which by the way, is the gold standard in the financial industry.
The fiduciary standard ensures that:
- You are the priority, not the needs of the firm or individual
- You are made aware of any possible conflicts of interests
In contrast, the suitability standard requires that financial advice needs only be “suitable” to the client’s needs. If you are on a diet, an apple ‘suits’ your needs, but the apples alone are not going to achieve the results you want.
Plus, there are key differences between the suitability and fiduciary standards in terms of education, professional requirements, and compensation models.
Is it possible that a fiduciary advisor is also a broker? Yes!
Some professionals often function in both roles. For example, they may act as a fiduciary financial advisor when planning your retirement, but they may also sell you insurance or investment packages, adhering only to the suitability standard.
There are other problems with the “suitability standard” as well. Almost any financial product could be considered “suitable” to achieving some financial objective. It may not, however, be in your best interests.
You don’t need a one-size-fits-all product, you need an individualized holistic plan. Great financial advisors understand this. A broker wants to sell you a product from which she/he will make a commission.
So if we look at the diet example, apples are great. But you don’t need the person that owns the apple farm selling you apples. You need a holistic, multi-faceted, and realistic diet plan put in place by a trained and ethical health professional interested only in your success and with whom you can develop a relationship. The latter is what a fiduciary relationship looks like.
How can I be certain that my financial advisor really is a fiduciary?
Their word is not enough, make them prove it by putting it in writing. This can include a signed fiduciary oath or a copy of their relevant fiduciary certification.
If a financial advisor refuses to give this to you in writing, promptly end that relationship and start looking for a new financial advisor!
Look for the following designations which demonstrate that the advisor is a fiduciary:
- CEFEX Fiduciary Advisor Certification
- Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF)
- Independent Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) not working under a broker-dealer arrangement
If you’ve ever listened to—or read any of—Tony Robin’s material on financial planning, you’ll know that he is a huge proponent of only using fiduciary financial advisors.
Unfortunately, according to Robbins, only about 10% of financial advisors are fiduciaries. Of those 10%, many function as both a fiduciary and a broker depending on the scope of your relationship with them. The problem is most investing consumers can’t tell the difference! But, now you can!
So don’t wait for the financial advisor to tell you what you want and need to know. Be proactive and ask them directly if they are dually registered as a registered investment advisor (RIA) AND with a broker-dealer.
Regardless if they’re an RIA, any financial advisor registered with a broker-dealer is likely not working as a true fiduciary financial advisor because they need that broker-dealer arrangement to receive commissions from product sales.
I’m certainly not saying all brokers are bad or disingenuous, I’m just saying here in Las Vegas—and everywhere—your odds of having the best results with the least conflicts of interest come from working with a true fiduciary financial advisor.
Also, ask what type of relationship you would have when working with them. You can also look at their business cards or marketing material—if it says in small print something like “securities offered through ABC company” they are not a fee-only fiduciary financial advisor.
The CEFEX Fiduciary Advisor Certification is the gold standard for fiduciary excellence. In order to earn this certification, firms have to go through a rigorous evaluation process in which CEFEX representatives thoroughly evaluate the practices and policies of advisors.
A CEFEX certified advisor has met a “Global Fiduciary Standard of Excellence”, and is deemed to have practices that act in the best interest of the client and is therefore in a position to earn the public’s trust. A CEFEX certification is not easy an easy one to get, only 200 firms or so worldwide can boast such an accomplishment.
Fiduciary Financial Planners in Las Vegas
The Wealth Consulting Group*
*Due to the inherent conflicts of interest in the fee-based/commission business model, whether they’re a “pure fiduciary” is in question. Please make sure you ask them for their fiduciary acknowledgment in writing.
Sparrow Wealth Management
10080 Alta Dr #160
Las Vegas, NV 89145
Arista Wealth Management
8876 Spanish Ridge Ave, Suite #202
Las Vegas, NV 89148
2. Ask how the financial advisor gets paid
This is an extremely important step because the payment method of the advisor is linked to the advice that they give you. There are three basic compensation models for financial advisors:
- Fee-only (work with this model for the least amount of conflicts of interest)
How your financial advisor is paid is likely to have a big impact on the financial advice they give you. If you are working with an investment broker who works under the suitability standard (which doesn’t require the more rigorous ethical and legal standards found in the fiduciary standard) it is much more likely that the broker is going to pressure you to buy an investment or insurance product offered by their employer so they can make a commission.
Commission-based brokers get paid a chunk of money to sell an insurance or investment product. Oftentimes they get “trails” as well – or small commissions ongoing. Therefore, you want to avoid working with someone that is paid via a commission model.
Another payment model to avoid is the fee-based model. Don’t be fooled here, fee-based compensation is a slick way of saying the financial advisor makes money from charging fees and commissions.
Remember, some advisors function as both fiduciary financial advisors and brokers and some of the products may have a place in some people’s overall plan. However, it’s essential that you know if they are acting as a broker or not when they’re giving you financial advice.
Without a doubt, the best option is to find a fee-only financial advisor. When working with a fee-only fiduciary financial advisor you may pay a
- Flat hourly fee
- Project-based fee
- Annual fee, or
- A percentage from the investment assets the financial advisor manages for you.
The fee-only advisor compensation model is best for both the financial advisor and the client. Plus, it effectively mitigates most conflicts of interest. Under this compensation model, the advisor acts as a fiduciary and the advice isn’t motivated by a desire to make more sales for commissions.
In fact, the fee-only model is supported by several national financial planning organizations whose members must exclusively use a fee-only agreement with clients and adhere to the fiduciary standard of excellence.
“Here’s what I tell Investors who ask for my most significant advice: Never do business with a broker.”Renown author, investor, and advisor Dan Solin
Although a good financial advisor does much more than only look at investments, the advice holds steady for other financial planning aspects as well. The bottom line is that commission-based compensation—as well as fee-based compensation—creates a larger bias in financial advice.
How can you find fee-only financial advisors in Las Vegas?
Use the Fee Only Network database as a starting point
Or perform a Google search for “Las Vegas fee only financial advisors.” Here’s a list of a few firms which come up, but be sure to get their fee only status in writing just like their fiduciary status:
Capstone Capital Wealth Advisors
2600 Paseo Verde Pkwy, Ste 150
Henderson, NV 89074
Thrive Wise Advisors
701 North Green Valley Parkway Suite 200
Henderson, NV 89074
Henderson, NV 89074
Dawn Gordon Financial Advisors*
628 South 10th Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101
*Unclear compensation model and fiduciary status
Link Financial Planning*
6145 S. Rainbow BLVD, Suite 105
Las Vegas, NV 89118
*Fiduciary service with unclear compensation model
Summit Portfolio Management*
410 South Rampart Blvd., Suite 390
Las Vegas, NV 89145
*Fiduciary service with unclear compensation model
3. Ask about their financial credentials, education & experience
Look for the CFP® initials first, meaning CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. The CFP® certification is only granted to those who have a bachelor’s degree, have completed thousands of hours of applicable financial experience (such as through an internship, as a volunteer, or a job), and of course have passed the comprehensive, 6-hour CFP® exam after roughly 2 years of study. It’s an important accomplishment and a standard certification any great financial advisor should possess.
Additional credentials that add to an advisor’s skillset are:
CPA – Certified Public Accountants help individuals and companies with financial planning, investments, and taxes. On the financial advisor side is the PFS designation through AICPA. This is roughly equivalent to the CFP® designation.
CFA – Certified Financial Analysts have extensive knowledge in accounting, economics, asset management, and security analysis.
ChFC – Chartered Financial Consultants have experience and knowledge in financial planning, including income tax, insurance, investment, and estate planning.
CLU – A Chartered Life Underwriter helps people understand life and health insurance, pension planning, insurance law, income taxation, investments, financial and estate planning, as well as group benefits.
There are several other financial credentials that exist, so many it’s incredibly confusing to the investing public!
Take the time to learn a little about what each credential means because you will want to know if a financial advisor’s credentials and skillset pertain to the particular financial planning that you need. This is the same as looking for a cardiologist for a heart problem or a diesel mechanic for a diesel engine. Find advisors that have the training and experience needed for your financial goals.
Honestly, most of the financial designations are quite simple to achieve in many ways, and therefore not worth as much as the CFP® and PFS designations. Those two designations are the premier designations for financial advisors at the top of their game!
Also, assess competency. A competent financial advisor is one that can successfully and efficiently meet the planning and investment needs of the client. Competency is gained through continuing education, training, and most importantly real-life experience.
A long list of credentials after a person’s name doesn’t automatically grant that person competency. When you start interviewing potential advisors, ask about their experience, the number of clients they advise, and what their typical client profiles are like.
You should also perform a broker check to see if there are any complaints or actions against a particular advisor or firm.
Financial Advisor Specialty Areas
Once you find an advisor with the right credentials for your specific financial planning needs, it’s also important to drill down a bit further into their specialty or expertise.
Some financial advisors are general in nature, while others focus on a specific niche clientele:
- Retirement planning
- Education planning
- Cash flow management
- Tax planning
- Insurance planning
- Risk management
- Investment planning
- Business succession planning
- Estate planning
And even more niche would be specialty areas like:
- Divorce financial advisor
- Financial advisors for a dentist
- Financial advisors for “XYZ company” (company-specific advice)
- Financial advisors for the LGBTQ community
- And many more!
If you’re not completely sure which specialty will meet your needs, think about where you are in life. Your particular life stage, whether it be as a young professional, a recently married person, having kids, well-established in your career with kids nearing college, nearing retirement or retired, calls for different strategies and plans for a healthy financial future.
Education, experience, and competency are what set true financial advisors apart from “just” a broker; one gives advice, develops a plan, and educates—the other sells an insurance or investment product. This is why it’s so important that you thoroughly research potential financial advisors.
4. How to find a financial advisor in Las Vegas and make an interview “short-list”
So, where can you find these well-educated, competent, fee-only fiduciary financial advisors who specialize in the planning needs for your situation? Luckily, this is the easy part!
Learning about fiduciary vs. suitability, how financial advisors get paid, and financial advisor credentials and specialties is the hard part.
Rule number one is don’t use the phonebook. Let the power of Google work to your advantage and do a search:
- “Fee-only fiduciary financial advisor Las Vegas”
NOTE: Don’t just click the top few links! Those are PAID ADVERTISEMENTS from financial advisors in Las Vegas who may not adhere to these high standards.
Focus on the organic results AFTER you scroll past the ads. This way the cream of the crop financial advisors who should be on your short-list will appear at the top.
Consider using the tools offered by the national organizations whose members meet those exact criteria we discussed above:
- The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
- The Garrett Planning Network
- The Centre For Fiduciary Excellence
- The Fee-Only Network
Those online tools can help you find financial advisors in your area that have been evaluated and meet stringent criteria—generally speaking, the same criteria I’ve laid out in this article.
Beyond the use of online “find a financial advisor” search tools, ask your family, friends, and coworkers if they know any great financial advisors.
Friends and family who don’t understand these concepts are great at referring commissions-based brokers. So make sure that you screen any references and emphasize you’re only looking for—and interviewing— a fee-only fiduciary financial advisor!
At this point, you should be making a list of potential Las Vegas financial advisors that are fiduciaries and work on a fee-only compensation model. The next step is to interview the ones on your list.
5. Interview your Las Vegas financial advisor candidates
Now that you’ve made a list of candidates that you may want to hire, it’s time to interview them.
The initial interview with potential advisors should be a welcoming, well-received, and positive experience. Anything different is should be seen as a sign that the relationship probably isn’t going to work out. It is very important that you can develop a trusting and working relationship with your advisor, so take your time.
When it comes to financial advisor interview questions, it’s best to start with the resources from the professional associations above. They’ve already weeded out the riff-raff through a similar process.
Use the NAPFA advisor diagnostic as well as the advisor comparison tools to help you in the interview process. The advisors can fill these forms out and return them to you ahead of time, but generally speaking, it’s best you ask these questions in person to get a real feel for the sincerity of their answers.
The financial advisor interview is when all of these important steps come together. You will find out if your potential financial advisor is a fiduciary or not, and you will learn about their services, education, experience and specialty, and potential conflicts of interest.
Keep in mind that not every conflict of interest should lead you to automatically dismiss a candidate!
Make sure there is ample documentation as to the exact type of compensation to be received by the advisor and don’t just use the responses provided on the interview form. Asking how a financial advisor is paid is critical to your selection process! Remember, a fee-only fiduciary financial advisor will have the least conflicts of interest (if any)!
Hire your new Las Vegas financial advisor!
Choose the financial advisor that meets all of the important elements discussed above, has the experience and education that matches your needs, and feels like the right fit in terms of potential for building a long-lasting, trustworthy relationship.
It’s important you have a good connection with them. Even if they’re highly qualified, you want to feel comfortable. You are “opening up the financials” to a stranger, after all, so make sure you get a “warm and fuzzy” feeling before that final decision.
Finding the best financial advisor in Las Vegas isn’t easy, but it will pay dividends in the future!
Spending the time researching financial advisors and learning the differences between fiduciaries and brokers, the different compensation models, the different areas of specialty, education and credentials, and finally interviewing financial advisors from your shortlist is very important! Yes, it takes time and effort, but it’s such an important step to take in protecting and growing your financial future it’s worth the investment upfront.
Remember these key things when finding a financial advisor:
- Be patient, do your homework, and ask lots of questions
- Know who you are working with (a fiduciary or a broker?) and get it in writing (some advisors claim to be a fiduciary but won’t put it in writing)
- Know exactly how your financial advisor gets paid and get the compensation agreement in writing
- Use fee-only advisors, steer clear of fee-based and commission advisors
- Understand what your needs are so that you can find the right financial advisor with experience helping similar clients solve their financial problems
- The internet is full of useful tools, take advantage of the ones listed in this article specifically
- Don’t solely focus on investment returns—financial advisors can spin investment returns anyway they want to make them look great (when in reality they may not be so great)
- Remember it’s vital to build a strong, trusting relationship, so make sure you get that “warm and fuzzy” feeling when you interview a financial advisor
Las Vegas Fiduciary Fee-Only Financial Advisors
|Las Vegas Financial Advisors||Fee-only?||Fiduciary?|
|Arista Wealth Management||Yes||Yes|
|Capstone Capital Wealth Advisors||Yes||Yes|
|Thrive Wise Advisors||Yes||Yes|
|Sparrow Wealth Management||Yes||Yes|
|Redrock Wealth Management||Yes||Yes|
The journey to a better financial future is best made with a reliable partner that acts in your best interest and always has your needs in mind. If I can help you reach your goals or answer any questions, please reach out.