In finance, an adviser is someone who gives advice on financial matters, particularly financial planning. Financial advisers can be consulted by individuals, businesses, and governments.

There are two kinds of financial advisers: Fee-only advisers and fee-based advisers. Fee-only advisers receive payment only from their clients. Payment can be a fixed amount for the consultation or a percentage of the total assets managed for the client.

Fee-based advisers may receive payment not just from the client, but also receive referral fees or commissions from service providers (i.e. financial institutions such as insurance and mutual fund companies). It is important to know if a financial adviser is being paid by a particular company because his advice may be biased towards that company, thus superseding the client’s needs.

Before visiting a financial adviser, make sure that you:

• Figure out your main goal – Do you want specific advice for a particular issue (i.e. debt repayment, retirement planning, savings, etc.) or do you the financial adviser to help you map out your entire financial future?

• Get your facts straight – Find out what your family’s monthly gross and net income is. Figure out your current tax rate and the details of financial products (i.e. total amount in savings, insurance coverage, investments, etc.) you have.

• Know your limits – Figure out how comfortable you are with risk so that if the financial adviser explains your options and the risks associated with each it will be easier for you to make a decision.