When you search for a financial advisor, you are searching for a way to navigate the uncertain terrain of the future. Your search is indicative of mankind's desire to be in a better situation than they currently are in, as you are no doubt looking for a way to simultaneously put yourself in a more favorable situation and ensure that you won't have to work as hard in the future to achieve wealth and prosperity. Not only are you then looking for a person with professional training who can guide you towards financial security, but you are also looking for the assurance of a partner in life, of sorts, who can act like the part of your brain that is usually devoted to the survival mechanism. In this day and age of free markets and consumerism, the survival mechanism needs to be focused directly on the amount of assets in your portfolio.
Because your assets are an important thing to be concerned about - even though a dull topic to actually mull over - having the stability of a financial advisor will allow you the luxury of letting someone else worry about your financial situation while you go about the more important things in your life. Of course, you'll want to be in regular contact with your advisor, as the easiest way to suffer from the perils of choosing a bad financial advisor is to allow him or her too much freedom to do whatever he/she wants. This is important not only so that you stay abreast of what is going on in the world of finance, but also to keep track of where and why your advisor is pushing your money in certain directions rather than in others. Remember, if your financial advisor is working on commissions, then there might be a conflict of interest in some of the choices he makes should you allow him the freedom to do whatever he feels best indiscriminately.
You'll be able to find a financial planner at your local bank, should you wish to look no further, but there are also self-employed financial advisors who are just as qualified as any working in an established institution. You should always shop around for the best choice for you, no matter what services you are looking for from an advisor be it insurance or estate planning. You will also want to look at their credentials and past-clients, if you happen to know any other them, otherwise ask for references from past customers. Many financial advisors make their living through word of mouth referrals, which means that you'll have to be wary of snake oil salesman types just as you need to be wary about who referred you to a certain advisor. Remember, in our environment of minimal government involvement in the economy and increased support for business and consumerism, it is increasingly the case that you are the only person who really cares about where your money goes and whether or not you'll have any savings to fall back on in the case of emergency or early retirement. At least with a financial advisor you'll have a second person on your side.