What is a Financial Planner?

A financial planner will bring together all the pieces of your financial life to help you reach financial goals. From budgeting, to planning for retirement, to saving for education, to managing taxes and insurance coverage, a financial planner can empower you with knowledge to take control of your financial well-being. A financial planner can help you avoid financial pitfalls, make financial decisions, set short- and long-term goals, and provide solid answers and advice to help you make educated financial decisions not only for yourself, but for your family as well.

Financial Planner Education and Experience

A financial planner should have extensive education and experience in investment planning, tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning, insurance planning and financial management. It’s never a bad idea to ask a potential planner, or even your current financial planner, to tell you more about their experience and qualifications. Obviously if you haven’t done this before working with your financial planner, you can certainly ask them to tell you more. It should feel awkward to you and should not offend them if you want to learn more about their knowledge and experience if you are using their services

Choosing the Right Financial Planner

When choosing a financial planner, it is important to find someone who will take a holistic approach or look at the big picture of your finances. A certified financial planner (CFP) is trained in many financial areas and must master the 72 Principal Knowledge Topics including investment planning, tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning, insurance planning, financial management, and education planning. He/she must pass an examination on personal financial planning, have 4,000 hours of apprenticeship with a CFP practitioner or 6,000 hours of professional experience. Most importantly, a certified financial planner is obligated to adhere to the fiduciary standard, putting their client’s best interests first and foremost. Performing a background check on a certified financial planner is not difficult. At www.letsmakeaplan.org, you can confirm a planner’s certification status, check on his or her disciplinary history with the CFP Board of Standards and bankruptcy filings in the last ten years, if any.

How Does a Financial Planner Get Paid?

It is important to understand how a financial planner delivers their service and how they get paid? Some receive commission compensation from selling mutual funds and insurance products. Others charge hourly or fixed fees, or a fee based on a percentage of assets under management.

What to Remember When Selecting a Financial Planner

What should you remember when selecting a financial planner? Become acquainted with a planner’s philosophy, business style, and the type of services he or she provides. Consider a planner’s commitment to high professional standards that will put your needs first in every financial planning engagement.

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