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How to Find a Financial Planner

By: Jason Markum

If you are a successful person, chances are you’re too busy being successful to put any serious time into analyzing and finding investment opportunities, creating and fulfilling personal finance goals, or creating and executing a solid financial plan for your life. The paradox is, successful people are the ones that need financial plans!

That is why you should have a personal financial planner… someone who can take away the time burden necessary to create and execute your financial plan on a day-to-day basis.

So what should you expect with a financial planner? When you hire a financial planning firm, or a financial planner, they will assume responsibility for handling and coordinating your financial affairs. They will balance your investments, plan for your retirement, manager taxes, plan your estate, in some cases handle your insurance, and most of all – protect your assets.

They will need you to take an inventory of your current assets and gather up just about every kind of financial paper that you can think of. We’re talking financial records here…

When you get together all of your records, your planner will analyze it and create a sort of financial profile of you from which they will create a comprehensive plan for achieving the goals that you have set. This plan is not set in stone, but merely a recommendation and an organizational structure for you to follow. They will also give you periodic reports of your financial situation in case you need to adjust certain things over time.

Everybody is different, every financial plan is different, therefore every planner will act differently based on your exact situation. There is no one-size-fits-all, and that’s why you need a planner who will take your specific circumstances into account and work with you to reach your goals.

What should you look for in a planner? Well the first thing to look for is professional expertise. What kind of credentials do they have? The best credentials for a planner to have are the chartered financial consultant credentials (ChFC), and the certified financial planner (CFP) credential. There are also certain attorneys and also accountants the specialize in financial planning, look for these as well.

The second thing to look for is resources. Your planner should work closely with other financial professionals. People like attorneys, accountants, tax experts, investment specialists, and people of this nature so as to cover all of the bases in your financial planning needs. The more contacts they have the better off you will be.

The third thing to look for is affiliation with a major institution. Are they affiliated with a certain major bank? That may be a plus. Are they affiliated with a major investment bank? That could be a plus. Are they affiliated with a major law firm who specializes in taxes and financial matters? That could certainly be a benefit. Who your planner is affiliated with can be very important, especially if the company they are affiliated with has a long-term reputation.

I hope you understand now the importance of using a planner and I hope you have a better understanding of how to find and select a financial planner. It may just be one of the most important decisions you ever make.

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