What Is a Financial Planner, and Do You Need One?

You have financial questions. Internet has answers. Likewise friends, family members, and Instagram influencers.

Financial planners can cut noise and provide advice on expert money that is tailored to your needs.

Financial planner: what they do

Financial planners guide you in meeting your current financial needs and long-term goals. It usually means to assess your financial situation, understand what you want your money to do for you (both now and in the future) and help make plans to take you there. Financial planners can help you reduce expenses, pay off debts, and save and invest for the future.

But pro financials such as doctors: some are specialists in the specified area, such as taxes or investment management. Others, such as certified financial planners, are general practitioners, offering advice on everything starting from budgeting and investing to insurance and retirement planning.

Do you need a financial planner?

In general, the more complex your financial situation is, the more likely you benefit from financial planners.

If your finances are simple, you might be able to take a DIY approach. But financial planners can provide an objective perspective, and bring expertise to decisions about how you have to invest your money, what is your financial priority and whatever coverage of the insurance and other protection you need. Financial planners can be very helpful when you are faced with live changes - Think of marriage, divorce or inheritance.

Financial planner type

The best type of financial planner for you will depend on your needs, life stage, and budget. We will describe some of the options below.


If you just started, a Robo advisor might be enough to meet your needs. Automation has enabled traditional companies such as Vanguard and Fidelity, as well as online-only companies such as improvement and wealth, to substantially reduce portfolio management prices. These companies are ideal if you need investment management, but not holistic financial planning.

Robo-Advisors builds and manages a low-cost investment portfolio that is in accordance with your financial goals at a small cost - many top choices charge 0.25% or less than your account balance. The investment mixture is determined by the computer algorithm and is automatically adjusted when needed. At the basic account level, you can start investing with $ 500 or even less.

Cheap properties, easy reasonable from Robo-Advisors reduce obstacles to work towards your financial goals. It is important because avoiding the market can make you starvation. You can start with Robo's advisor and add human advisers later if needed. (It sounds like a good plan? See our best list of Robo-Advisors.)

Traditional financial planners, in-people

For those who have complicated or sustainable planning needs, traditional financial planners, in-people may be more suitable. CFP can provide holistic, one-on-one advice for the most complex financial situation. The official CFP appointment shows that providers have gone through a formal training process and strict testing.

CFP only costs are usually cost per hour (usually $ 200 to $ 400) or with assignments (costs $ 1,000 to $ 3,000, for example). Some may charge a cost based on the size of the investment portfolio that manages for you; This is called the cost of asset-under-management and is usually 1% of your portfolio balance per year. Initial consultation to discuss your needs and their services are usually free.

Financial planner vs Financial Advisor: What's the difference?

Financial advisors (or financial consultants) are extensive terms that include many professionals who help people with their money.

Financial planners are a type of financial advisor that usually focuses on the offer of holistic financial guidance in addition to services such as investment management. For example, financial planners can help you answer questions like, "How do I save for retirement and my child's college funds at the same time?"

Work with financial planners

Online financial planners such as Robo-Advisors or online planning services often offer virtual tours, demos and even opportunities to test the investment platform before you register. With online planning services, you might be able to meet with your special financial planner before deciding to register.

Initial meetings with financial planners such as the first date: this is an opportunity to get to know each other and see if you give up on the personal and philosophical level. Take this opportunity to find out everything you can, including how much you can expect to be paid, how the financial plan will be presented and how often expect ongoing communication. (Here are 10 questions to request a financial advisor to collect information and see if you click.)

When you work with CFP or online planning services, you will start with the reviews where you stand. You will be asked about:

Your destination. What are your short-term and long-term financial priorities?

Your current financial image. How much money goes in and out? What do you have, and what should you pay for?

Your risk tolerance. The series of questions about how the gyration of the stock market nausea makes you tell how many of your portfolios must be in stock versus other investments such as bonds.

You can expect any financial planner in contact that is quite regular with you, even though the form taken contacts will vary. Robo-Advisors usually send regular emails and prompt accounts while traditional online planning services and planners will meet you throughout the year. You must update your planner with changes in your financial situation.