Domain experts, financial advisers offer their services for a flat fee or may ask for a part of proceedsInvestors often believe they can handle their finances on their own and don’t need any outside help. This may be true for those with less exposure and a credible understanding of matters related to the subject. It may also depend on the complexity of a person’s investment and having the right temperament. Most people need advice on such matters to mitigate risks and avoid costly mistakes. So, they seek the help of a professional financial adviser or planner.Domain experts, financial advisers offer their services for a flat fee or may ask for a part of proceeds from investment sales.Organisations such as the Association for Financial Planning and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisers help locate personal financial advisers in a particular area. But it’s up to you to check their background and other details before hiring them.Here are five tips to keep in mind when choosing a personal financial advisor.1. CredentialsBefore hiring an adviser, it is important to do some research and find out about the person and his level of expertise in the subject. Next, a financial planner must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and should be certified by the Financial Planning Standards Board.2. Fee structureGood financial planners will charge decent fees. If they don’t, they would be depending on commissions and could be biased in their suggestions. Discuss the fee structure with your finance planner. The fee could range between Rs 10,000 and Rs 50,000 per year. For smaller portfolios, go with a periodic fee structure rather than a lump-sum annual fee.3. ExperienceTry to find a financial planner who has managed assets for a few market cycles and has an idea how asset classes usually behave in different situations. A financial planner who has at least five years of experience will be a safe bet to assess risk and understand the growth potential of a portfolio.4. MeetingYou should meet the financial planner you are going to hire, be it in-person or via a video link. See how comfortable you would be with the person in discussing your financial matters. But understand that all adviser-client relationships take time to evolve. Building a good rapport is something that will benefit you.5. Reference checkCheck with the planner’s existing clients about their experience and whether he spends enough time understanding the client’s problems. Also check how useful the adviser’s services have been to the existing clients – whether their finances improved or dwindled.