Do You Need a Certified Financial Planner?

Are you having trouble deciding which stocks to invest in, or whether to have a 401k, IRA… or both? I don’t blame you! I mean, mid-caps, small caps, equities, bonds… if you don’t work in the industry, good luck making sense of it all! It’s unfortunate that most of us graduate college knowing absolutely nothing about financial planning or money management.

Growing up, money wasn’t something my parents spoke openly about with the kids, aside from teaching us that credit card debt is akin to the devil. Most of what I know about saving, budgeting and financial planning is self-taught or knowledge I gained from friends or my certified financial planner.

Yes, I have a financial planner and, no, I don’t have a lot of money. So why have one? The simple answer is, I was 24, had nothing saved for retirement and didn’t know where to start. At the time, my best friend was a financial adviser so I opened my IRA with her. She knew my financial goals, understood my preferences and knew how to allocate and diversify my funds. When she left the field, my account transferred to her successor who I talk to a couple times a year. She even called me to ease my concerns about the turbulent market and I feel comfortable knowing my money is being managed by a professional.

If you’re thinking about finding someone to help you organize and plan out your finances, here are a few tips for finding the best financial planner:

Do your research: The finance sector is among the highest regulated industries in the country. Obtain information on your investment professional, broker or firm before you open an account. Visit the Certified Financial Planner Board or the National Association of Securities Dealers.

Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask an adviser questions and don’t be afraid to talk to several different advisers until you find the right one for you.

Know where your money is going: Know how your financial planner will be paid and what kind of service s/he will provide you. Is s/he salaried or commissioned? Hourly or flat rate? Will s/he call you every three months/six months/year to discuss your investments?

Beware of “guarantees”: If the adviser you are speaking to says s/he can “guarantee” you a certain return, be very careful! There are no ”get rich quick” schemes and no fast money making. You should not hear the word “guarantee” from a diligent adviser.

For more money tips from Waste Time Wisely, read:

Do You Need a Certified Financial Planner?
10 Tips to Start Investing Now
Do Men Make More Money by Simply Asking for More?
5 Ways to Put a Lil’ Extra Cash in Your Wallet

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