When you lack a certain skill set and want to partner with someone who has it, you typically need to confirm three things. Does the person have the expertise, experience and endorsements that verify his or her capabilities? Here are three questions you’ll want to answer satisfactorily when looking for a Christian financial advisor.
EXPERTISE: Is the advisor properly trained and credentialed or licensed?
Proper training can mean the planner has earned a financial degree or been through an appropriate credential program. Many of the advisors we connected with have multiple designations reflecting their training. Rob Royal, vice president - financial advisor with RBC Wealth Management in Long Beach, California, is a good example. He’s a certified financial planner (CFP) and a certified Kingdom Advisor (CKA®). Credentials like these reflect the expertise you want, he says, but you need much more. “I believe that only a Christian financial advisor,” he says, “can provide you with the combination of professional competence, biblical wisdom, and personal relationship to help lead you to Christ-honoring stewardship of your finances, possessions, kingdom impact and contentment.”
EXPERIENCE: Has the advisor worked in the field long enough to become proficient?
Common sense suggests that people become more proficient the longer they do something. This is especially true with financial planning and management. Every aspect of this discipline—from taxes to investments to estate planning—is complicated. Experience is the best road to proficiency. This is why many companies that provide financial planning services pair new hires with seasoned practitioners who can mentor them.
Do the advisor’s clients confirm his or her professional skill and personal integrity?
When looking for a new doctor, you’ll probably start by asking for recommendations from people you trust. The need for good care is too important to simply pluck a name from a list of physicians. Take the same approach when investigating financial advisors. Many will have testimonials on their websites. Some of your friends work with or know advisors; ask them for recommendations, then do your homework. It’s a good idea to meet with potentials before making your final choice.
You may not be familiar with one of the credentials we’ve mentioned—Certified Kingdom Advisor. It’s a designation earned through Kingdom Advisors, an organization founded by Larry Burkett and other respected Christian financial counselors like Ron Blue. The organization “offers in-depth training and a tight-knit community to Christian financial professionals who want to integrate their faith with their practice.”
Next time we’ll talk about what to expect when you work with a Christian advisor.
This blog is the third in a series based on feedback received from a group of financial professionals associated with Kingdom Advisors and Ministry Partners about the value of working with a personal financial advisor who sees godly stewardship as their top priority.
Disclaimer – The above is for information purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for tax, legal, account or investment advice. Consult with your own advisor before engaging in any transaction.