I don’t have enough money to use a financial advisor.
We hear it all the time, but financial planning advice is not just for the wealthy. In fact, everyone can benefit from a solid financial plan, regardless of their income level or the amount saved. You don't need to be a millionaire to seek out financial planning advice, and there are many options available to help you get started.
What is Financial Planning?
The basic premise of financial planning is to create a roadmap for your financial future, which includes setting goals, identifying risks and opportunities, and creating a plan of action to help you achieve your objectives. It's about making the most of your income, managing your expenses, and building wealth over time. These are all tasks that sound easy, but many times it’s these priorities that we push to the side because we’re too busy or we feel that since it’s long-term planning, it can wait. The saying “time waits for no one” comes to mind with this thought process. It’s never too early nor too late to address this.
Who Should Use a Financial Advisor?
While some people may assume that financial planning advice is only for the wealthy, the truth is that there are many financial planners and advisors who work with clients of all income levels. Some financial planners offer services on a fee-for-service basis, which means you pay for their time and expertise on an hourly or project basis. Others may work on a commission-based model, opting to earn revenue based on products or services purchased. Another option planners offer is to work on an advisory fee schedule, meaning they charge you based on the investment assets they manage. Typically, this type of advisor has a fiduciary relationship with their clients, meaning that they are legally obligated to act in their clients’ best interests. There’s never a one-size-fits-all approach, so you need to find an advisor that, first and foremost, you feel comfortable with, then one with whom you understand how they are compensated.
How to Get Started
There are also many free resources available to help you get started with financial planning. For example, there are online calculators and budgeting tools that can help you get a better understanding of your finances and create a budget that works for you. Online resources are readily accessible, but they do not take the place of talking with someone who looks to understand who you are and what’s important to you. While many of these resources can give you a broader idea of the financial planning process, a computer doesn’t prompt discussion nor offer advice.
Beginning the search process for a financial advisor can feel overwhelming. A good starting point is to read or listen to anything that the advisor is putting out there on social media or other channels. This allows you to get a sense of their communication style to see if it jives with your personality. Next, you want to have a conversation to see if there is a mutual fit. Ask them about the types of clients they typically deal with. If it doesn’t feel right, move on to the next. Not every client is a fit for our firm, and that’s ok! By working with a financial planner or using free resources available, you can take control of your finances and build a strong financial future. There’s no time like the present.
Author: Tim Smith, AAMS
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