Financial Planning and planners in general are a bit of a controversial topic for me. Having worked in the IT industry and now wearing two hats with offline IT and online IT work I regularly cross paths and meet a lot of financial planners and their associated companies. I have written in the past about an experience with a financial planner I had along with the important lessons learned and the questions we always need to ask. With this in mind and with doing some work for a financial planner at the moment (not my finances its their IT stuff) I thought today I might speculate as to whether a financial planner is needed or even required in our own financial journeys. Can we still achieve success without them?
Does a financial expert really matter?
Lets face it not all our finances are equal. From country to country we are going to have some differences between nations where saving money is compulsory or even law through to country’s where some of us are living on a subsistence level and pretty much everything we earn goes straight into our families. And to provide another contrast how about if your someone who works and owns your own business. Often you will make sacrifices (including the money you may pay yourself) and end up in a position where you may not have sufficient savings, funds or superannuation to plan out and act on your financial medium to long term goals. At what point does it become necessary to have a financial planner? Ten thousand dollars in the bank? An investment property? Not knowing the right financial terms?
Debbie over at USNews.com posted a really good observation I would like to borrow from;
“You Probably Don’t Need a Financial Adviser. If you’re the type of person who keeps track of every penny, knows exactly how much is saved for retirement, and have a diverse investment portfolio, a financial adviser may not be worthwhile” Debbie Dragon
So are you one of these people?
So How big do you need to be for a financial planner?
I feel by Debbie’s definition and perhaps a little common sense we can arrive at a couple of pertinent points;
- If you’re comfortable talking these terms over with a financial planner then perhaps you don’t need their services. But can they accelerate your goals/achievements or make your achievements greater in the long run?
- If there are some aspects you need guidance on perhaps you can pay for a financial planners time rather then start any long lasting relationships. Just buy the advice you need!
- If your thinking about some of these aspects than clearly you have access to funds. If you have access to the funds then yes your big enough but do you really know what to do with them?
- If your thinking about doing some financial planning or investment in the not too distant future than can it hurt to talk to a planner now?
- You don’t need hundreds of thousands of dollars to start somewhere. Would you build a home garden worth $150 without getting some advice from someone who knows about a garden first?
So perhaps you do need a financial adviser.
So how do you pick the right Adviser for you?
Word of Mouth and the Internet.
Think of the internet as the world’s biggest referral engine. People like to talk about experiences they have had, good or bad with various companies. So spend some time planning on who has a good reputation or bad before you consider sitting down and talking to them.
Use those search engines we commonly use for shopping and finding holidays to find your financial adviser and compare what their offering with other companies.
Check what their relative fees are and check who they have worked with before (assuming they’ve published some testimonials or clients).
Just like you use the internet talk to your friends/associates about the various deals they are getting and how its performing. But then back this up with some more homework so you don’t end up where I did with my trip to a financial planner.
And last but most important do you have you goals set out for what you would like to achieve with this planner? If you don’t know what you want them to achieve and what your destination is how can you plan the journey?
Know a good financial planner or adviser you can recommend? Worked with someone who has achieved some really good results? Leave us a comment or a hot tip and don’t forget to share!
***Photo thanks to Garvfinancial.com & Alan Cleaver***