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How to Build a Financial Advisor Team

June 4, 2012

Take One For the Team

I've got a case of Entrepreneur Syndrome: I'm afraid to give up control and I want to do everything myself. I want to answer the e-mails, buy the office supplies and pay the bills.

But there are only so many hours in the day. And it's often better for my finances if I focus on the things that actually make me money and pay somebody else to do various chores. (When I first paid to have my taxes prepared, I was shocked at how much money I saved.)

Over the past decade, I've come to rely on my "personal finance team," a small group of professionals who advise me on business and personal financial decisions.

My team includes an accountant, an attorney, a financial planner and a personal mentor. I don't just trust these folks to give me business advice; I also count on them to help me navigate my personal financial affairs. Without them, I'd be lost.

Of course, there can be glitches in building a team. "The first time I hired a bookkeeper, it was with the attitude that I just wanted somebody to take care of things for me," says Mark Silver, founder of Portland, Ore.-based consultancy Heart of Business. "But we got to the end of the year and the records were a mess. I had to hire a second bookkeeper to clean it all up. I had to pay for the work twice."

To put together a strong team of advisers, try these tips:

Finally, remember that nobody cares more about your money than you do. Your advisors may do great work for you, and some may even have a legal obligation to look out for your best interests, but ultimately you are the most important member of your team.