Consumer Guide: Insurance & Investments

Insurance & Investments

Choosing the right financial professional to manage your money can be a daunting task, particularly if you are not familiar with the financial industry. With so many options available, from financial advisors and brokers to insurance agents and accountants, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Fortunately, by taking the time to research your options and ask the right questions, you can find a financial professional who can help you meet your financial goals and protect your assets. In this guide, we will provide you with tips on what to look for and what to avoid when working with financial professionals, as well as strategies for choosing the right one for your needs.

Tips From the Experts: Key Factors to Consider When Working with a Financial Professional

Note: Any item listed with an asterisk (*) below is a NAOSA Gold Standard of Professional Practice™ and is required for NAOSA professional membership. For more details, please visit the NAOSA Consumer Guides page.

Insist on the Fiduciary Standard*

The Fiduciary Standard is the standard of care required of NAOSA members because it requires that professionals must prioritize your financial goals over their own. In contrast, the suitability standard, while still widely used in the financial industry, does not require this and can (and often will) create potential conflicts of interest, including recommending an inferior product based on a higher commission to the financial planner.

Many of the additional factors listed below are important when choosing a financial professional, but if you work with a professional who does not operate under the fiduciary standard, you run the real risk of being sold a product that may not be the best solution for your goals. Insist on the Fiduciary Standard. For more information, review this article from Investopedia: Suitability Standard vs. Fiduciary Standards: What's the Difference?

Check the professional's credentials and experience

Look for financial professionals who have relevant certifications and experience in the areas you need help with. For example, if you're looking for help with retirement planning, you should work with a financial professional who has experience in that area.
Also, be sure the financial professional is licensed and registered with relevant regulatory bodies, such as your state's department of insurance, FINRA or SEC.

Additionally, check the individual's credentials and professional qualifications and make sure they match with the expertise that you are seeking. For example, a financial planner should be credentialed through a legitimate organization such as the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (Certified Financial Planner or CFP), The American College of Financial Services Planning or similar accredited organization.

Ask about fees and compensation

Financial professionals can be compensated in different ways, such as through commissions, fees, or a combination of both. Make sure you understand how the professional is being compensated and what you can expect to pay for their services.

Understand the professional's investment philosophy

Different financial professionals may have different investment philosophies and approaches to managing money. Make sure you understand how the professional approaches investing and whether their philosophy aligns with your own goals and risk tolerance.

Don't be afraid to ask questions

Working with a financial professional is a collaborative process, and it's important that you feel comfortable asking questions and expressing your concerns. A good financial professional will take the time to listen to your needs and answer your questions in a way that you can understand.

Are you a professional in the insurance and investment field?
We welcome your constructive input to assist in the protection of all consumers. Please contact us.

Review All the NAOSA Consumer Guides Before Make a Purchase

Simply click on the industry to access the Consumer Guide

Auto and Home Insurance Owners

Home Care & Assistance

Home Improvement/ Home Repair

Insurance & Investments

Legal Professionals

Long-Term Care Insurance

Medicare Supplement & Medicare Advantage Insurance

Moving Companies

Real Estate

Reverse Mortgage

Senior Living Communities

Senior Living Brokers/Consultants

NAOSA Guarantee

NAOSA requires members to act in utmost good faith when working with clients. Members must agree to act in a fiduciary manner in a way that the member reasonably believes to be in the best interest of the client. In addition to compliance with all federal and state regulations, each professional member of the National Association of Senior Advocates must also follow and act in accordance with the NAOSA Consumer Guides published herein.  Members who are found not in compliance with these standards will be censured, with membership subject to revocation.


Avoid Scams Targeting You & Your Loved Ones

We publicize bad business practices across a wide range of industries and alert you on the latest scams. Stay safe, get educated, and sign up now!

What Our Members Say

An independent organization like NAOSA is really needed. It’s so hard to find the right information these days and even harder to find businesses and professionals who I know I can trust. Thank you NAOSA!

    Retired CPA
    Retired CPA

    Lakeland, Florida

    The NAOSA consumer guides are great. Clear explanations, without all the complex language, is extremely important in helping me make the right decision.


      Potomac, Maryland

      NAOSA has brought me tremendous value when networking with like-minded professionals, it has really helped me stand out from the crowd. I highly recommend it.

        NAOSA Member
        NAOSA Member

        Austin, Texas

        In a world filled with mistrust and spin, honesty and integrity offer a tremendous opportunity for professionals and businesses who do business the right way.

          Anthony L. Cinotti
          Anthony L. Cinotti

          Founder of National Association of Senior Advocates

          Use NAOSA To Your Advantage

          Unhappy with a company? NAOSA would like to hear from you.

          Questions? Need Assistance? Please contact us.