Warning: Not all financial advisors are created equal. That’s right. You may think you’re making a smart financial choice by hiring a financial advisor, but you need to be careful. This isn’t quite yet a profession, like law or accounting, due to varying licensing requirements and a smattering of outright shady salespeople (brokers) who highjacked the term “advisor” in the late 1990s and do everything they can politically to hang onto this great “marketing title.” As the proper term “broker” suggests, they are just selling stuff, and if there was a clear way to delineate that to the public, I would not be about to go on the following rant. You can look for a firm that is a “Registered Investment Advisor,” or RIA, but even that search isn’t perfect due to the rise of “Hybrid RIAs,” which enable an advisor to switch hats mid-meeting if they want, from investment advisor back to broker. Back in pre-internet 1990, everyone needed a broker to get access to the stock market; today this is a commodity and what people truly need from their “advisors” is advice. The following is a checklist you can use to really see if your “financial advisor” truly has your best interests at heart.