What is a Financial Advisor?
A Financial Advisor is a financial professional that works with you to help you work toward your life goals through the proper management of your finances. Life goals can include:
Buying a home
Saving for your child’s education
Planning for retirement
The financial planning process involves gathering relevant financial information, setting goals, examining your current financial status, and coming up with a strategy or plan for how you can strive toward your goals given your current situation and future plans.
What are the benefits of financial planning?
Financial planning provides direction and meaning to your financial decisions. It also allows you to understand how each financial decision you make affects other areas of your finances. For example, buying a particular investment product might help you pay off your mortgage faster or it might delay your retirement significantly.
By viewing each financial decision as part of a whole, you can consider its short and long-term effects on your life goals. You can also adapt more easily to life changes and feel more secure that your goals are on track.
Can’t I just do my own financial planning?
Some personal finance software packages, magazines, or self-help books can help you do your own financial planning. However, you may decide to seek help from a professional financial planner if:
You need financial experience in certain areas that you aren’t familiar with. For example, a planner can help you evaluate the level of risk in your investment portfolio or adjust your retirement plan due to changing family circumstances.
You want to get a professional opinion about the financial plan you’ve developed.
You don’t have the time do your own financial planning.
You have an immediate need or unexpected life event such as a birth, inheritance, or major illness.
You feel that a professional adviser could help you improve on how you are managing your finances.
You know that you need to improve your current financial situation but don’t know where to start.
How do I find a Financial Advisor?
The following questions were developed by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and can be used to assist you in finding a Financial Advisor. Your goals should not only be to select a competent, qualified professional, but also one you feel comfortable with.
What experience do you have?
What are your qualifications?
What services do you offer?
What is your approach to financial planning?
Will you be the only person working with me?
How will I pay for your services?
How much do you typically charge?
Could anyone besides me benefit from your recommendations (are there any Conflicts of Interest)?
Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your professional career?
Can I have it in writing?
What’s the financial planning process like with L&M?
Our time-tested financial planning process is based on experience, best practices, and a conservative philosophy. It includes the following six steps:
Establishing and defining the client-planner relationship, which includes explaining our services and associated costs, as well as identifying client responsibilities.
Gathering client financial data, discussing and setting goals, establishing a risk profile.
Analyzing and evaluating financial status.
Developing and presenting recommendations and options.
Implementing agreed-upon recommendations.
Monitoring recommendations, as well as the client’s financial situation, on a regular basis.