7 Signs You Need A Financial Planner
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness
Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help and you think you can – or should – handle things yourself. Whether it’s taking care of a nagging injury, fixing the sink, changing the oil in your car or doing your own taxes. The same questions often arise about finances and financial planning.
You have questions that you consider silly or stupid and feel that you should handle alone so you don’t seek help. This is not necessarily the best course. As happens often in life generally, not reaching out to a professional can delay you reaching your goals and cause you to incur more out-of-pocket expenses.
With respect to your financial future, there are no stupid questions. Don’t sit on the sidelines and fear asking a question or think you’re unqualified to go to a financial planner. Solid and respectable planners let you know if they can’t help you and refer a professional who can. They also let you know if they think you can plan your finances yourself.
Here are signs you may need a financial planner:
- You recently married. To merge or not to merge finances is a huge question: emotions to contend with, forms to update, cash flow to track, debts to pay down, goals to lay out and spending habits and needs to reorganize and prioritize. Communication during this transition helps you navigate possible questions about taxes, investment allocation updates, selecting benefits, joint roles in management of the household, deciding whether to maintain separate bank accounts and more.
- You own a business. Whether considering starting your own business or a long-term entrepreneur, you likely need to know how to prioritize goals, pay yourself while keeping the operation running and the best way to manage cash flow on an income that fluctuates monthly. Not to mention saving for retirement, obtaining health insurance and protecting you and your family against a loss in income from death or disability.
- You want to make a big purchase. Simple budgeting often enables you to handle large purchases. If you are looking to buy a first home or make another sizeable investment, understanding the overall effect on your cash flow, lifestyle and future goals looms large. How much home can you afford? What’s your budget for home maintenance? What other goals go on the back burner? What about your future savings?
- You make a career change. Job or career transitions also bring changes in income and benefits. Make sure you maximize your company benefits, leave no retirement accounts behind and ignored, plan appropriately for income fluctuations, consider future job growth or career prospects and consider the transition’s overall influence on your lifestyle.
- Your family is growing. A baby comes with a slew of considerations: ensuring you have an emergency fund of three to six months’ expenses adjusting your spending for child care, groceries and medical costs and updating your estate plan and insurance coverage in case something happens to you, among many other needed updates.
- You are approaching retirement without a plan in writing. Sure, many people may believe achieving a certain level of assets may be all you need to retire along with social security and a pension, if you are lucky enough to have one. This false sense of security usually fails to account for significant variables, such as inflation, taxes, distribution strategy, and potential long-term care needs. Taking distributions to supplement retirement from the wrong account at the wrong time can have tremendous consequences. It’s critical to make sure you have a written plan in place so you can have a clear strategy that will account for as many of these variables as possible.
- You've been a DIY Investor for years and your investments lack proper diversification and/or a clear strategy. Working with a financial planner can help ensure your assets are properly allocated based on your goals and risk tolerance, create an investment strategy tailored to your specific life and financial situation, and prevent you from making poor emotional investment decisions.
The first step in asking for help always seems the hardest. The assistance and feedback may surprise you when you are open to the idea that you need not handle all financial questions solo. And remember:
“The greatest mistake you can make is to believe that you have to do everything on your own power.” ~Catherine Pulsifer, Author