7 Signs It’s Time to Get Financial Planning Advice

by Catherine Tansey

Two women discussing financial planning.

If you already have a firm grasp on your finances, it can be hard to rationalize shelling out for financial planning advice. But a personal finance planner can help you strategize and plan for short-term and future goals, and provide neutral, third-party advice for smarter decision making. 

Whether you’re starting a family or undergoing a major financial change, the following scenarios are signs you should talk to a financial advisor. 

When to get a personal finance advisor

1. You’re getting married

Getting married means you could be joining finances for the first time. What to share and how to organize bills, saving, and investing are highly personal and hugely important decisions. With the right financial planning advice, you and your partner have the opportunity for an open and productive conversation about money matters so you know you’re on the same page.

When it comes to marriage, a personal finance advisor can help you:

  • Create a plan to pay down any debt
  • Look honestly at your saving and spending habits 
  • Determine what extent you want to combine finances
  • Set and plan for financial goals, like buying a home

2. You’re having a baby

Raising children is expensive. If you and your partner are ready to start a family, it’s a good time to talk to a personal finance planner. They can help you gain clarity on things like what kind of childcare you can afford, and plan for short-term expenses like labor and delivery and long-term expenses like saving for college — pro tip: a 529 college saving account is a good place to start. Starting a family is a stressful and exciting time. Make it more of the latter by seeking financial planning advice. 

Related article: Read about Liz’s experience planning financially for her family.

3. You’ve inherited a windfall

Be it money, property, or stocks and shares, inheriting a windfall warrants a trip to a personal finance advisor. Inheritances are tricky because they’re emotional and often accompanied by the sense that you should “do something with it.” They also carry tax consequences that can be confusing. But every dollar should have a purpose — either for bills, debt, savings, investments, or retirement. Avoid mishandling your inheritance by seeking financial planning advice from a  professional who can help you allocate it wisely.

4. You’re a high earner

Consider seeing a personal financial advisor if you’re earning more than $75,000 or have significant discretionary income. Even though you’re already saving and investing, a financial planner can give you a macro-view of your finances that can be hard to achieve on your own. 

Related article: Read about David’s experience getting an audit on his investment portfolio.

5. You’ve recently paid off debt

Paying off debt frees up cash flow. Whether it’s student debt, car loans, or credit card debt, you have the opportunity to start building wealth once you’re debt free. Good financial planning advice will help you be purposeful about what to do with your money, so you can avoid lifestyle creep and make your money work for you. 

6. You’re a freelancer or business owner

As a self-employed individual, you have a lot to take care of. You’re busy managing the day-to-day operations of a business while facing unique financial challenges, like an unsteady income stream or complicated tax requirements. A personal finance advisor can:

  • Simplify convoluted concepts into concise, easy-to-digest information.
  • Give the practical advice needed to plan for taxes, structure the business, and develop an exit strategy.
  • Provide neutral, third-party advice to help you feel more confident in your financial decisions.

7. You have no interest in managing your own finances

Despite having a high degree of financial literacy — you pay down debt, invest, and save for retirement —  you might not want to manage your own finances. Whether you’re overwhelmed by the options, are short on time, or simply lack the desire to design a plan on your own, talking to a personal finance planner is a smart way to access the best advice out there.

There are lots of options for financial planning advice, but we recommend zero-commission advisors. These individuals are fiduciaries, meaning they’ve taken a pledge to put your best interests first. Fiduciaries aren’t selling a product and don’t receive commission —  they’re there to help you make smart financial decisions for your future.

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