It’s that time again in the United States when we honor and celebrate Pride Month. In June, we celebrate how far we have come in this country to obtain legal rights and recognition of living our authentic selves. Members of the LGBTQ+ community make the decision to express ourselves and show up as queer, or not, on a daily basis.
Making the decision to contact a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional for the first time can feel like a daunting, complex challenge for the LGBTQ+ community. People who identify themselves as LGBTQ+ remember when we first came out to someone — and it was usually one of the most frightening experiences we share. But these are stories we communicate with each other to build trust and find some commonality. So, the thought of a queer person going to meet with a financial planner for the first time causes a lot of anxiety no matter what the circumstances. Here are three steps to help you with your journey of ensuring that your relationship with a financial planner is a good one.
Prepare For Your First Meeting
Think of where you first learned about money and your relationship to money — or “your money story,” as I like to call it. We often learn how to handle money both subconsciously and as formal lessons when growing up. First, we learn from our parents and family units and then from the community in which we are a part of. We first experience feelings about money in three areas — spending, saving, and giving it away.
Our continued behaviors create our habits. Then, as fate would have it, we often partner with someone who handles money totally differently from us! Do you understand your relationship to money and have a clear picture of your money story? When you read this, what comes to mind?
My advice is to take time to write down the following six questions and answer them honestly, so that when you hire a financial planner, they can better assist you in determining the best financial plan for you:
- What's important about money to you?
- How do you feel about money?
- How do you make financial decisions?
- Where do you find information, good resources and recommendations about money?
- What are some of your mistakes, proudest experiences and ways you handle money?
- What are your short-term and long-term goals?
Next, have a conversation with your spouse or significant other about why you want to meet with a financial planner. Be sure to understand each other’s point of reference and overall objectives so that you can communicate your needs to the financial planners you interview.
Share your feelings about money and spend time learning about your money history. Once you have gathered this information and have more insight, it’s time to find the financial planner best for you.
Find the Right CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
As in any profession, there are different types of business models and focus of practice. In the financial services industry, this can be very confusing. You may want to go through the process of creating a holistic plan or perhaps you just want some financial guidance on a specific topic right now. Understanding what services financial planners offer and how they are compensated is important information to review prior to your first meeting. The CFP Board lists the types of services financial planners provide to help you determine which best fit your needs.
When you are interviewing financial planners, ask as many questions as you can to evaluate the fit. Financial planners are trained and educated to help you clarify and organize your goals, discover resource and present strategies. They can help you understand if you have realistic goals and if you need to adjust your spending and/or saving habits. The financial planner may provide you with a checklist and a sample of the documents to bring with you for your initial meeting to assist in your plan.
Look at the Bigger Picture
Once you have identified your interests and goals with your spouse or partner and found the financial planner you would like to confide in, the third step is to evaluate the whole picture. Confirm you can afford the service, and then schedule an appointment to meet with the financial planner.
People often contact financial planners when they are at their most vulnerable or when they have a situation that creates a life transition, such as graduating college or buying or saving for their first home. For most people, it is a time of apprehensiveness and anxiety filled with excitement or sadness.
In 2022, we are dealing with the aftermath of a global pandemic, economic worries and the stress of continuing violence in our country and the world. Financial planners are adept and experienced to help you focus on your priorities and goals when it comes to your finances. If you identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, you can find more resources and information about how a CFP® professional can support you and help serve your financial planning needs at LetsMakeAPlan.org.