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Q: How do we find a good financial adviser?

Diana says...
I’ll throw this question back to you for a moment: How do you find a good doctor, trusted dentist or decadent masseuse? By asking around! There is no shortage of quality financial advisers out there, so ask friends, respected colleagues or professionals for their recommendations and then comparison shop between two or three advisers. Key questions to ask a prospective adviser include: What financial qualifications and experience do you have? How are you paid—via commission, fee, salary or the sale of a product? (If they’re not upfront about their compensation, move on.) What investment products do you offer? If they suggest an investment product, do your homework before signing up. Don’t rely on glossy marketing graphs with returns spiking upward. Check for yourself the performance history of the investment or stock, preferably over a 10-year time frame. Online sites such as globeinvestor.com and morningstar.ca offer the track record history of stocks and mutual funds. Most importantly, make sure you feel comfortable with the adviser and that they understand your financial situation, risk tolerance and goals. For example, before the credit crisis in the States, many investors were told that mortgage-backed securities were a safe haven—not!

Diana Cawfield is an award-winning financial writer with more than 10 years of experience. Click here to send her your questions.