"I don’t have enough money to get a financial planner,” goes the common lament. However, the notion that financial planning is only for the rich is misguided. While it is true that some advisors charge more than others for regular visits, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can provide valuable advice at any stage of your life. In fact, the earlier you work with a financial planner, the better.
Life is complicated for everyone, but even more so for the many of us who did not learn the basics of financial planning in school. We often feel intimidated merely talking about our finances.
Taking a Step Back
Depending on which survey you read, between 50% and 65% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. So much energy is expended just trying just to cover this month’s bills, along with anxiety over where the money will come from when something like the car or water heater needs repairs. Yet because money management is as much about psychology as it is about math, walking on this financial hamster wheel often leads to frustration. It takes courage to step off the wheel and step back to assess.
Working with a CFP® Professional
No matter your life stage or income level, a CFP® professional can help you. Consider a CFP® professional as more of a counselor and financial coach than asset manager. He or she has passed a comprehensive exam requiring a broad understanding of personal finance and the intersection of economics, insurance, taxation, retirement, investing and estate planning. CFP® professionals are also required to have spent many hours working with clients, to help them plan and create a comfortable financial future. Also, CFP® professionals commit to the CFP Board to act as a fiduciary — which means to always act in the best interests of the client. If you find yourself overwhelmed with your financial situation, speak with a competent and ethical financial planner to get you back on track.
Understanding the Basics
If you are just getting started, a CFP® professional will be able to explain budgeting, offer resources to help you stay on budget and guide you through setting aside cash for an emergency fund. They can also offer tips on how to save and help evaluate whether you have proper insurance coverages and other basic financial needs covered.
As your financial well-being improves over time, your CFP® professional can give you tips on how to invest and do other things like save for college or set retirement goals. One does not need to have a big lump of cash to sit down with a CFP® professional. Simply put, the right time to begin working with a financial planner is now.