Three tips to help diverse Americans find their first financial professional

Many Black and Hispanic Americans are engaging with a financial professional again, according to the 2023 Annual Retirement Study from Allianz Life

After recent declines, more Black and Hispanic Americans are working with a financial professional. Still, less than half of all Americans are currently working with a financial professional.


Respondents receiving help from a financial professional in 2023

  • 36% Black/African American (up from 24% in 2022)
  • 42% Hispanic (up from 35% in 2022)
  • 44% all Americans (down from 48% in 2022)

A financial professional can help you determine your long-term financial goals and create strategies to achieve them. If you’re thinking about working with a financial professional for the first time, here are three tips for finding one who can meet your needs.


Learn about the different types of financial professionals

Financial professionals can have varying training, certifications, and responsibilities.

How financial professionals get paid is one differing factor. Some professionals are paid by third parties and earn sales commission for selling certain products. Others, categorized as fee-only professionals, make money from fees clients pay for their services.

Another way financial professionals vary is by duties and standards. Financial professionals who are designated as fiduciaries are bound by fiduciary duty. That means that they are legally required to work in their clients’ best financial interest. Others operate by a suitability standard, which means they need to make recommendations that are appropriate for you based on your personal preferences, such as your risk tolerance. All financial advisers are subjected to scrutiny from a number of regulatory bodies and have supervision over the advice and investments they offer.


Think about what kind of help you need

You might want assistance with something specific, like budgeting, taxes, investing, debt repayment, or retirement planning. Some financial professionals specialize in one area, whereas others can offer more holistic guidance including multiple aspects of financial planning.

The Annual Retirement Study found that people from varying backgrounds have different financial priorities. For example:

  • Paying off credit card debt is a top financial goal for 38% of Black and Hispanic Americans, compared to 30% of all Americans.
  • Saving enough and making plans to live a comfortable retirement is a top goal for 45% of all Americans, while only 36% of Black Americans said the same.
  • Leaving a legacy for family is a top goal for 31% of Black Americans, compared to 23% of all Americans.

By determining the top priorities for your financial professional, you will have a better chance of finding someone with the right strengths for your needs.


Interview multiple financial professionals to find the right fit

It’s wise to meet with several financial professionals before choosing one. You will want to ask questions to learn if this person will be a good fit for both your financial situation and your personality. You will need to share personal financial information with this person, so it is important to find someone you can trust.

Here are some good questions to ask:

  • What is your typical client like?
  • How would you describe your approach to helping clients?
  • What technology do you have to help clients?
  • Do you develop written financial plans?
  • How do you earn money?

*Allianz Life conducted the Allianz 2023 Annual Retirement Study online in February and March 2023 with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 individuals age 25+ in the contiguous U.S. with an annual household income of $50k+ (single) / $75k+ (married/partnered) OR investable assets of $150k.

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz) does not provide financial planning services.