My relationship with money has always been a close one. Since I began earning, I’ve maintained a watchful eye over my earnings, keeping my precious dollars within reach—either in my wallet or safely stashed away in a bank. I might have even resorted to the age-old practice of stashing cash under my mattress, if it weren’t deemed unconventional. Consequently, it was no surprise that retirement accounts and credit cards didn’t feature in my financial landscape until well into my 20s.In 2020, my tax preparer sensed my somewhat unsophisticated approach to savings and suggested that I collaborate with a financial planner. I didn’t fit the stereotypical mold of a high-earning professional, the typical clientele I assumed frequented such financial experts. As a full-time freelancer with moderate earnings, I wasn’t exactly swimming in wealth. Yet, I wasn’t actively saving for my retirement, and the funds I did save weren’t earning any interest.
Fast forward three years, and I now possess a SEP IRA and a brokerage account, both thoughtfully established and managed by my financial planner. Additionally, I’m a proud homeowner, and the down payment for my home stemmed from the accumulated funds (and interest) in the brokerage account. Although I haven’t transformed into a financial wizard, the partnership with my financial advisor has notably boosted my financial confidence. If you’re contemplating seeking professional financial guidance, here’s what I wish I had known before embarking on my journey with a financial planner.The financial realm utilizes two commonly employed terms to denote professionals: financial advisers and financial planners. A financial adviser serves as a general term encompassing individuals providing financial advice, as explained by Leo Chubinishvili, a certified financial planner and wealth adviser. Financial advisers can include insurance brokers, stock or bond brokers, and financial coaches.On the other hand, financial planners adopt a holistic perspective on a client’s financial situation.
They guide individuals in money management and strategize for future financial goals, often employing comprehensive plans. Services range from investment guidance and retirement planning to life insurance and budgeting. Typically certified by the CFP Board, they have passed a rigorous examination. Elizabeth Ayoola, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet, highlights that “some individuals might be uncertain about managing their finances.”The misconception that financial planning is solely for the wealthy is debunked by the accessibility of financial planners. Regardless of one’s income level, these experts offer personalized strategies to manage and enhance financial well-being. My own journey attests to the fact that financial planning is a valuable resource for those striving to secure their financial future.”