Checklist for Interviewing a Financial Planner

Planner's Name:

1. Do you have experience in providing advice on Special Needs Financial Planning? If yes, indicate the number of years.

2. How did you get involved in Special Needs Financial Planning as a profession?

3. Do you know the difference between SSI and SSDI? If yes, how does this pertain to my situation?

4. Can you explain the concepts of a Special Needs Trust and the principles behind its purpose? How would this help me in my planning?

5. How long have you been offering financial planning advice to clients?

  • Less than one year
  • One to four years
  • Five to 10 years
  • More than 10 years

6. Briefly describe your work history.

7. What are your educational qualifications?

8. What professional financial planning designation(s) or certification(s) do you hold?

  • Certified Public Accountant-Personal Financial Specialist (CPA-PFS)
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Other

9. What financial planning continuing education requirements do you fulfill?

10. Are you or your firm licensed as a Registered Investment Adviser? Will you provide me with your disclosure document Form ADV Part II or its state equivalent?

  • Yes
  • No If no, why not?

11. How are you paid for your services?

  • Fee
  • Commission
  • Fee and Commission
  • Salary
  • Other

12. What do you typically charge?

A) Fee:

  • Hourly Rate $___________
  • Flat Fee (range) $__________to $_____________
  • Percentage of assets under management __________percent

B) Commission: ________________________________

13. A) Are you affiliated with any company whose products or services you are recommending?

  • Yes
  • No


B) Is any of your compensation based on selling products?

  • Yes
  • No


14. Do you have an affiliation with a broker/dealer?

  • Yes
  • No

If yes, name of broker/dealer________________________

If no, why not?

15. Do you provide a written client engagement agreement?

  • Yes
  • No

If no, why not?

16. Can you provide 3 families as a reference that you have provided Special Needs Financial Planning advice to? May I contact them?

17. Can you provide 3 other professionals in the disability community as a reference? May I contact them?

SOURCE: Obtained from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. website at Modified for use with special needs clients in "The Special Needs Planning Guide: How to Prepare for Every Stage of Your Child's Life" by John W. Nadworny, CFP® and Cynthia R. Haddad, CFP®, Reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2007 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc., April 2007.