4 Key Steps Every Athlete Must Take Before Hiring a Financial Planner or Advisor
Many financial planners dream of landing an athlete or celebrity as their client, but the truth is, not every financial planner has the tools and expertise to handle the complexities of managing a portfolio like this. Most clients have built their wealth over time; for athletes, it can happen in a day. Add uneven cash flow, job insecurity and no idea what to do with all of that money into the mix, and it becomes clear pretty quickly that not just any financial planner will do.
If you are a professional athlete searching for the right financial planner, make sure to follow these tips to find the best one for you:
Do your homework: Finding the right financial planner is a lot like finding the best contractor or surgeon. It’s important to do your research first. Look for reviews, ask for recommendations, and read through their website before reaching out for an in-person or phone consultation.
Check their credentials: Many former athletes go into business as financial planners. Just because they have been in your shoes, however, doesn’t make them qualified as a provider of sound financial advice. Ask about what licenses and certifications they hold, or better yet, research them with online tools like Broker Check from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) or the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure tool from the Securities Exchange Commission. You’ll also want to find out what special certifications they have, such as Certified Financial Planner, Certified Public Accountant or Chartered Financial Analyst.
Ask the right questions: You’ll want to make sure your financial planner understands the unique challenges associated with managing an athlete’s money. The best way to do this is by asking hard questions about how they’ll work with you on things like becoming financially savvy, budgeting, goal-setting and creating an investment strategy based on your goals. Newsflash: A good financial planner will be vetting you, too, so maintain eye contact, ask good questions and otherwise be engaged in the process. Also, ask for (and check) references. A good Advisor will give you honest and straight answers. Even if this means that they are not giving the answers you want to hear, but rather providing you with a realistic path for your financial future.
Do a gut-check: Based on the information you’ve gathered, how do you feel about this person or firm? It’s okay to rely on others to help you make this decision, but don’t forget that it’s your hard-earned money, so ultimately it’s your decision. You want someone you feel you can trust to help you make smart financial decisions that will set you on a path to financial security, whether or not you’re still in the game.