We’ve all heard the quote “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you will feed him for a lifetime.” Although the origins of this quote isn’t exactly clear, the truth that it carries is. Educating others truly helps them succeed and thrive in their lives. As a financial planner, teaching is my favorite part of the job!! Sure I can just put a plan together and tell you what to do, but I think it is much more important for people to understand the why behind the plan so they can feel confident. My role is to give my clients the tools they need to succeed and to serve as a sounding board and an accountability partner.

What Does a Financial Planner Do?

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ looks at your finances holistically. They’re not just there to tell you what to do with your 401k but they get down to the heart of what your short and long-term goals are for you specifically. They will advise you on investments, insurance, budgeting, taxes, and estate planning among other things. You can think of them as the quarter-back for your finances as they work to bring together your accountant, attorney, and insurance agent ensuring everything is working in unison.

However, it isn’t always necessary to work with a financial planner. Many times your financial situation may be simple enough where you may be better off searching the internet for general financial advice. If that is the case, it may be best to save your money. Other times as your situation becomes more complex, investing in a financial planner will set you on the right path for growing your net worth faster and more effectively.

When You Should Work With A Financial Planner

If you’re not sure as to when it’s a good idea to bring in a financial planner, here are some potentially complex situations where you may need to bring in an expert to help you navigate all of those what-if scenarios.

    You did it! You put in the work and now you landed that dream position that pays an awesome salary, provides you with  a comprehensive benefits package, and comes with so many more financial questions than you had before. How do I lessen my tax burden? How much should I contribute to my 401k? What are these stock options they speak of? Should I sign up for the HSA? Working with a financial planner will give you peace of mind not only about potential taxes but will also ensure you’re taking advantage of utilizing your benefits package to the full extent.
    Combining two financial-households into one can come with unexpected hiccups and unwelcome stresses. Working with a financial planner gives you an objective third-party to help you prioritize what is important. Whether you are a two-income household or you’re working with one income, a planner will help you set your family’s financial goals as well make sure you’re not missing any steps along the way. By having that accountability partner, you both will be more likely to stick to the plan.
    We seriously underestimate the cost of raising a baby. I know I did even with my first pregnancy having twins! Not only are you trying to plan for everything they might need, you also have this unending urge to give them everything they want. I guess that is what happens when you discover the center of your world! A financial planner will help you balance your already important goals such as saving, debt management, and retirement with these new-to-you concepts such as college savings. Just keep in mind your kids can always get loans for school but nobody will give you a loan so you can retire.
    A large purchase, such as buying a home or a new vehicle, can be quite overwhelming. The bank may pre-approve you for a certain amount but is that really the right figure to fit in with your current lifestyle? By working with an expert who looks at all the pieces, not just your debt-to-income ratio, you can move forward knowing you’re making the best decision for your family.
    It didn’t work out and now you’re worried about what will happen to your finances. You may be moving from two incomes back to one but now you have all of these extra financial responsibilities. A financial planner along with your attorney can walk you through the process of dividing the assets and how to manage your half appropriately going forward.
    You’ve paid off your mortgage, funded your retirement accounts to the max and now your ready to retire. But wait… where to begin? A financial planner can help you coordinate your retirement income sources, help you determine the best time and method to take social security, recommend the appropriate Medicare plan, and discuss the possibility of long-term care and what would happen to your assets.
    When it comes to working out, I am not a self-starter! I need to pre-schedule my sessions and I need a trainer telling me what to do, when to do it, and for how long. Sometimes you need that person when it comes to your finances. If you’re constantly going over your budget, struggle with saving or managing debt, a financial planner would be a perfect fit for you.

How Do I Find A Financial Planner?

The frustrating thing about my industry is that anyone can call themselves a financial advisor, investment advisor, or financial planner but “CFP® professionals are held to strict ethical standards to ensure financial planning recommendations are in your best interest. What’s more, a CFP® professional must acquire several years of experience related to delivering financial planning services to clients and pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Exam before they can call themselves a CFP® professional,” according to the CFP Board.

You can find a CFP® Pro by searching the CFP Board website, or by going to Garrett Planning Network. If you choose to work with somebody who is not a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™, review these 10 Questions To Ask Your Financial Advisor to make sure they are the right fit for you.


Disclaimer: I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM (CFP®), but I am not your CFP® or financial advisor. The information in this article is for general informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. This article does not create a financial planner-client relationship. The author is not liable for any losses or damages related to actions or failure to act related to the content in this article. If you need specific financial advice, consult with a licensed financial advisor, CFP®, or tax professional who can tailor advice regarding your specific circumstances. Additionally, sometimes I use affiliate links to support my website. This means I may earn a small commission, which is no additional cost to you, for referring and discussing products and services that I personally use, or have used and trust. Thanks for your support!