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What is the Role of a Financial Planner?

Business owners visiting a financial planner for the first time will often ask “what can a financial planner do for people like us?”

Finances are often a very private topic, and it can feel uncomfortable at first to involve someone else in your financial decisions. In much the same way as a doctor consults on your personal health or an attorney on important legal matters, a financial planner is there to help you meet your personal financial objectives.

Guidance For Accomplishing Long Term Goals

Financial planners are experts at providing solutions to some of the toughest personal finance problems out there. A good planner can provide a comprehensive financial framework to help meet goals that are usually long term in nature and inherently complex such as:

  • Retirement
  • Estate Planning
  • Tax Efficient Investing
  • Risk Management

Business owners have several additional layers of financial concerns, including:

  • Protection from business liabilities
  • Business continuation in the event of a death of disability of a partner
  • Business sale or transfer at retirement

Financial problems that are more immediate or straightforward can also benefit from this sound advice, and planners are often rich sources of insight on more mundane subjects like budgeting and cash management.

Investment Solutions That Go Beyond Picking Stocks

Most of these long term goals will incorporate an investment solution to make sure they are met. After all, stuffing money under the mattress doesn’t do much to produce returns!

At the same time financial planners are not traditional stock brokers. They don’t provide hot tips, chase the latest investment fad, or recommend unnecessary risks. Many will put together plans that look a little bit boring, but when it comes to making sure you don’t run out of money in retirement, it can be vitally important.

The best planners also perform rigorous due diligence in an effort to make sure client funds are invested in legitimate and reputable financial products that are designed to meet specific investment goals.

Providing Collaborative Solutions to Complex Problems

Financial planners can also act as important members of their clients’ team of professionals. By coordinating with estate attorneys and other trusted advisors a financial planner can help make sure that a financial plan is fully integrated, well executed and maintained over time.

When appropriate, a financial planner can also work with multiple generations of family members to provide guidance to children just starting their financial lives and, eventually, provide a seamless transfer of wealth from one generation to the next.

Should I Use a Financial Planner?

This is always an intensely personal decision, but there are some considerations that may indicate it’s worth working with a financial planner to meet your needs. If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions it’s probably worth contacting a professional for advice.

  • Should I be preparing for a financial milestone like marriage, childbirth, selling my business or retirement?
  • Are others counting on my ability to make good financial decisions?
  • Do I have financial needs that may be best met by an investment solution, such as long-term savings or retirement income planning?
  • Would I benefit from a proven, disciplined investiment strategy and a sound budgeting approach?
  • Are my children, spouse, or aging parents placed at financial risk should I unexpectedly die or become incapable of working?

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