Nov 6, 2013 The Roles of a Financial Planner
Why on earth would you want to hire a financial planner? Even the name sounds boring. There are plenty of places on the internet or TV to get investment advice or planning ideas, right? I think there is a misconception on the role of a planner. This could be a hangover from the .Com brokers of the 90’s or just a result of salespeople dominating the financial services marketplace. Yes, a planner should have a firm grasp on the markets, an understanding of estate and tax planning, the ability to organize a financial plan and address your risk management concerns. However; there is more to expect from working with a Financial Planner Professional.
Lay Out Alternatives
You should expect the planner to lay out alternatives to you. When you are crossing the road and looking right, it is your planner’s duty to look left. There is certainly more than one way to reach almost any solution, with each alternative offering small advantages or disadvantages. A good planner does not come to your with “the solution” but helps you make informed decisions based on all of the alternatives that are available to you.
Identify Blind Spots
A Financial Planner should also identify blind spots. There is no shortage of financial advice available on TV and the internet but much of this information is so narrow as to render it all but useless. Many people get so focused on one area of their financial house, that they neglect others. It is not good enough to have a solid investment strategy if you haven’t ever considered estate planning or retirement planning. The role of a planner is to customize the fit and make sure you aren’t leaving yourself open to disaster.
A Financial planner should instill objectivity. This is particularly true in the current environment of polarized politics and twenty-four-hour news. The planner should maintain an environment where decisions can be made based on the information at hand while managing the risks and opportunities going forward. It is not always a good idea to vote with your investments.
Tell the Truth
Finally, the role of a financial planner is to tell people the truth. You need a confidant that you can trust. Sometimes the truth is a bitter pill to swallow. You must save more and spend less to accomplish your goals. It can be as simple as someone that will help your spouse make sound financial decisions if you are not there to assist. Sometimes a planner must admit that they are not the right person to speak with on an issue and introduce the client to someone better suited to solve the problem. The hallmark of a professional is someone willing to work with others in the best interest of their client. They don’t mislead and are not afraid to discuss the difficult issues. A client once told me that “growing old is not for sissy’s”. At some point, you will need to have frank, honest discussions that are imperative to your financial success.
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