Money is a tough subject for a lot of us. It's hard to talk about. It's hard not to feel stressed out about it. It's hard to ask for help. All these feelings are natural. But they can also hold us back from making progress.
These feelings can also keep us from making use of the resources available. We can often think "I don't need a financial planner. I'm doing ok, right?" Or "my money is too much of a mess, no financial planner would work with me." Or maybe "financial planners are only for wealthy people. My everyday stuff is inconsequential."
Not true. While there are many financial planners who will only work with certain high net worth people, that's not always the case and the industry is evolving. There are many professionals today who work with people no matter what their situation might be. Because of this, there are more ways than ever to get help.
So if you're thinking to yourself "what the heck would I use a financial planner for?" this list is for you.
When buying a car
There is something about buying cars that makes us all go temporarily insane. As soon as we decide to get a new car, we suddenly start to justify all the reasons why we need that brand new fresh-out-of-the-factory top of the line truck or SUV with all the bells and whistles and we just can't wait to spend too much on it and put it on payments. And we justify it to ourselves with words like "safety" and "reliable" so that we feel better about it.
You don't need that shiny new truck. You probably just need a simple 2-year-old vehicle that runs fine and gets the job done. Talking to your financial planner before buying the car can give you a sanity check from an objective third party. This can keep you from making impulsive decisions that can have costly long-term implications.
A financial planner can also help you think through paying for the vehicle and how to make the best decision for your family's future.
Thinking of buying a car? Talk to your financial planner before getting car fever.
When you don't know where your money is going
Do you find yourself consistently getting to the end of the month but you discovered that you've run out of money? This is prime time to think about getting help. If you don't have a budget and you have no idea where money is going, a cash flow plan can help tame the chaos. Working with a financial planner to establish a budget has an almost magical effect of lowering your stress level and making you feel like you're making more money immediately. Try it. It works.
When you and your partner are arguing about money
According to a new survey by Ramsey Solutions, money fights are the second leading cause of divorce, behind infidelity. This is alarming and should make us all pay attention. So if you find yourself having lots of money fights and disagreements with your spouse or partner, this is where a financial planner can help.
Your financial planner can act as a coach to help work through solutions to managing your money together, rather than at odds with each other. By getting the perspective of an objective third party, you and your partner can start to see things more clearly than you can when you're in the thick of a money conflict.
When you are thinking of starting a business
Starting a side hustle? Or maybe a full-time hustle? Before you get too far down the path, talking your plans over with your financial planner can help you steer clear of possible pitfalls. How will the startup costs be funded? How will you pay yourself? What software and systems will you use? How will you collect money? What about taxes? And this is just the short list.
When you or your partner get a raise
Finally got that big promotion? Having a good year in business? Partner got a new job? Any time you increase your household income, it may be time to update your financial plan (you do have a financial plan, right?).
Why? It's very common for people to give in to "lifestyle inflation" when they get a raise. They are making more money so they let their living expenses creep higher and higher to fill in the gap and before they know it, they no longer have any money left over for things like debt reduction, retirement or other important things that they had every intention of doing.
Working with a financial coach can pay for itself many times over through accountability and guidance to help you stay focused on what's important.
When you or your partner leave a job
When you make a big change like leaving a job, it's easy to get distracted by all the details that come with it. Unfortunately, most people don't get around to moving their old 401(k) plan away from their previous employer and it ends up forgotten, which is a missed opportunity to optimize it for your current situation. And that's only one of the many financial details that go into planning for a job change. Talk to your financial planner to stay focused on your money when you make a career move.
When you've recently had unexpected money glitches
Were you surprised by your tax bill this year? Unexpected expenses come up that you had trouble paying for? If you've had financial bumps in the road recently, it may be a sign that you could use some help. Often we don't know what we don't know and working with a guide can help you avoid these stress-inducing glitches in the future.
The right financial planner will pay for himself/herself many times over
While these are a few examples, there are many reasons to work with a financial planner. Often the best time is when you don't think you need one. It can be easy to see it as an expense and we often wonder what value we will be getting in return. In reality, working with the right financial planner can end up with a very positive ROI in the form of better cash flow management, better decisions, better long-term planning, lower stress (which improves everything), better relationships and higher income overall.
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