WRITTEN BY JEAN BORNO, CFP®, CIMA®
A Financial Planner can help you:
- assess your current financial situation.
- create a realistic plan to meet your financial goals.
- understand how to meet your financial and retirement goals.
- put your financial plan into action and monitor your progress.
- update your financial plan to grow with your changing needs and goals.
If you have any of these questions or concerns, you will benefit from a consultation with a Financial Planner:
- Confusion about conflicting financial advice and options.
- Paying too much income tax.
- Not saving enough for retirement.
- Not sure where to invest money.
- Changes in life that affect your financial future, such as a career change, marriage, retirement, loss of a spouse, birth of a child, etc.
- Not enough time to attend to personal financial affairs.
Financial Planners are licensed professionals with a broad background in finance. They can guide you through some important life decisions. They can help you manage the risk involved in making decisions that can paralyze some of us, such as:
- What kind of retirement plan do I need?
- Am I paying too much in taxes?
- How can I save money for retirement – tax free?
- How much life insurance do I need?
- How can I make sure my estate is left to family members, and does not depleted by probate court and government taxes?
- Can we afford college tuition for our children – and how do we save for this, knowing how much tuitions are spiraling?
Would you benefit from having professional advice when it comes to planning your financial future? A Financial Advisor is a partner that can help you understand your options and help you build and protect your assets.
A Financial Planner can also help you evaluate different life insurance plans and help you determine which policy or product is best going to serve your own unique needs and budget.
To assess your financial position and learn about some of the ways in which we can assist you, call us to schedule an appointment. Evening hours are available, and we can meet in your home or our office.
Not all advisors are created equal, look for the following professional designations from your financial planning advisor:
CFP, Certified Financial Planner
PFS, Personal Financial Specialist
Financial planners offer different services depending on a number of factors, including credentials, licenses and areas of expertise. They also have different approaches. Some planners work as part of a team of advisors, and others work primarily on their own.
Your financial planner should be a trusted partner whom you feel comfortable with and who understands your needs. Be sure to interview the planners you’re considering to find the best fit.
WHY CHOOSE A CFP ® PROFESSIONAL
Most people think all financial planners are “certified,” but this isn’t true. Anyone can use the title “financial planner.” Only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of CFP Board can display the CFP® certification trademarks which represent a high level of competency, ethics and professionalism. And because they are held to a fiduciary standard of care, a CFP® professional is required to act in your best interest.
CFP® CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS:
Unlike many financial advisors, CFP® professionals must develop their theoretical and practical knowledge by completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering a financial planning curriculum approved by CFP Board. Applicants may also satisfy the education requirement by submitting a transcript review or previous financial planning-related course work. Or, they can show that they have attained certain professional designations or academic degrees that cover the important subjects in CFP Board’s financial planning curriculum.
THE FINANCIAL PLANNING PROCESS:
Coming up with a solid financial plan means doing some homework—both on your part and the part of your CFP® professional. From examining your current situation, to setting goals, to deciding how to measure your progress, a CFP® professional is uniquely qualified to take you through the financial planning process.
In six steps, you and your CFP® professional will:
1. Agree on how to work together
Your CFP® professional will explain the services he’ll provide and define each of your responsibilities. Along with compensation, you’ll discuss how long the professional relationship will last and how you and he will make decisions.
2. Gather information about your finances and set goals
You and your CFP® professional will talk about your current financial situation and gather any necessary documents. Together, you’ll define your personal and financial goals, including timeframes. You may also want to discuss your comfort level when it comes to taking financial risks.
3. Analyze and strategize
Your CFP® professional will take all your finances into account and determine how to meet your goals. Her analysis may cover your assets, liabilities and cash flow, current insurance coverage, investments or tax strategies.
4. Develop recommendations
Next, your CFP® professional will go over his financial recommendations, explaining the rationale so you can make informed decisions. He will address your questions and concerns and revise his recommendations if necessary.
5. Put plan into motion
You and your CFP® professional will need to agree on how the recommendations will be carried out. Your CFP® professional may carry out the recommendations herself or serve as your coach, coordinating the process with you and other professionals, like attorneys or stockbrokers.
6. Monitor progress and stay on track
As you work towards your goals, you and your CFP® professional will need to decide who will monitor your progress to make sure you’re staying on track. If the planner is in charge, he’ll check in from time to time, reviewing your situation and making any necessary adjustments to his recommendations.
Above all else, you should have confidence that whichever financial planner you choose is competent and ethical. Financial planners earn CFP® certification by meeting education, examination, experience and ethics requirements. In addition to delivering general financial planning services, many financial planners are also registered as investment advisors or hold insurance or securities licenses that allow them to buy or sell products.