This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

6 Red Flags Of A Bad Financial Planner

A good financial planner can guide you toward useful products, boost the returns on your investments and help you design a sensible approach to retirement. A bad financial planner, on the other hand, may fail spectacularly on each of those counts -- and others.

How can you tell if you're stuck with an incompetent or unscrupulous financial planner? Here are six red flags you may encounter.

1. A turbulent backstory

If your prospective adviser has switched jobs frequently, it could mean trouble, says Jayne Di Vincenzo, CEP, president of Lions Bridge Financial in Newport News, Va.

"I've had advisers apply to work with me who have changed firms every two years," Di Vincenzo says.

When looking at an advisement firm, it may be wise to look into the turnover among the firm's advisers and staff, says Robert Schmansky, CFP, founder of Clear Financial Advisors in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

"If there has been a lot of turnover among the professional staff, among the advisers specializing in certain areas, that could be a sign that those people aren't comfortable with the way things are being run," Schmansky says.

2. A one-size-fits-all philosophy

If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But if you encounter a financial planner who fails to look deeply into your individual situation, you may be better off looking elsewhere for advice. Di Vincenzo says these advisers are frequently more interested in selling products than they are in helping clients.

"Whatever your financial needs are, there's only one answer such as an annuity, whole life insurance, one hot stock, etc.," Di Vincenzo says, describing how some planners promote singular approaches. "Or everything you need is one product or one fund family. They're a product pusher, not a financial planner."

3. Constantly shifting tactics

Be wary if every time you meet with your adviser, he or she is recommending a change in investment strategy or hot new product, Schmansky says.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,959.44 +154.64 0.87%
S&P 500 2,078.55 +7.90 0.38%
NASDAQ 4,781.4240 +16.0440 0.34%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs