How to Choose a Financial Planner

Many of our readers have been looking for ways to take their money management offline, so we created this comprehensive guide to finding someone who can help you manage major money problems. 

When to See A Financial Planner
A financial planner can be helpful in many situations, like helping you handle specific financial goals such as saving to buy a condo or planning for retirement. They can also help you get a grip on finances if you feel like you’re struggling to take control. If you’re feeling like you don’t have the time to manage your finances on your own, a financial planner could be a great option.

How to Find a Financial Planner
You want to make sure that anyone you hire to manage your money has a CFP designation and acts as a fiduciary with your money. A CFP designation means that this person has taken education requirements and an exam to become a certified financial planner. They have also completed three years of work experience in the field. A fiduciary is someone who has agreed to manage your money in the way that’s best for you, not in a way that benefits themselves or a company. To find someone who is both, use the CFP database or the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. You can also ask friends or family members for recommendations. 

What to Expect
A financial planner can help you in a bevy of ways, such as making a savings plan based on your current income and long-term goals or offering assistance on the best type of retirement account. They can help you make a plan to buy a house or a mortgage payoff plan, which can include refinancing. If you’re unclear on what types of insurance you need, your financial planner can also steer you in the right direction. They can also help you determine your risk appetite and recommend investment strategies based on that tolerance. 

A financial planner will usually wait to make recommendations until your goals and needs are very clear. It may help to flesh these things out yourself before making an appointment. 

In terms of fees, each financial planner has a different structure. Some may charge a flat rate while others will charge a fee based on the percentage of assets they manage on your behalf. Other financial planners use a combination of these strategies. Be sure to ask about the fees ahead of time so you know what to expect. 

Can’t Afford a Financial Adviser But Need Advice? 
Check out Savvy Ladies. They’re a nonprofit that connects women with financial planners free of charge. 

- Alicia McElhaney / She Spends Issue #41

giphy (75).gif
Saves_Divider (1).png