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Should I hire a financial advisor or a broker to begin investing?

I am 19 years old and for a while now, I've been very interested in investing. I've been doing research on how to invest, but I just can't get the information that I'm looking for. I watch a lot of videos and read, but they all provide motivation techniques instead of just cutting right to the chase. I was talking to one person and he told me to go to a financial advisor rather than a stock broker. What should I do in order to take my first step into investing and who should I invest it through? Should I hire a stock broker, a financial advisor, or should I just flat out buy a share single handed?

Investing, Choosing an Advisor, Starting Out
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February 2017

Good question. The problem you are running into is the same problem the industry is discussing right now. Salesmen, or brokers, are selling products or services that do not put your interest first. So, it is not really advice they are selling. True advice does not have any conflicts of interest, they only wish to educate and advise. Many calling themselves "financial planners" are not selling conflict-free advice.

If you are looking for someone selling advice, then a fee-only fiduciary planner from www.napfa.org is a good place to start. Many work on an hourly basis, which is probably what you need. When you are comparing prices, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. With most brokers or old-school firms, the fees are hidden or they will sell mutual funds where they have revenue sharing or sell from their own inventory, they will "advise" for things that are in their interest, not necessarily yours.

You are doing the right thing. Make sure you find a real fiduciary, someone that will act in your best interest.

Good Luck!

Mark Struthers CFA, CFP®

February 2017
February 2017
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February 2017