What is Financial Planning?
Many goals in life can only be reached with a certain amount of financial resources. Financial planning helps people build up the resources they need to reach their goals and dreams.
Financial planning is a process through which people develop individualized strategies for reaching their monetary targets. With the assistance of a financial advisor, clients determine what available vehicles will help them reach these targets so that they can take full advantage of their financial resources.
Who is Financial Planning Right For?
Almost everyone has monetary targets they’d like to reach and thus, can benefit from financial planning. People young and old, rich and poor can better utilize the financial resources available to them. Those with no financial resources can learn how to start saving, those with minimal resources can learn to grow their resources, and those who have wealth can take full advantage of their resources.
How are Financial Planners Compensated?
Some financial planners receive compensation from companies whose products they promote. This can create a conflict of interest and is one of the primary reasons to work with an independent planner who’s a fiduciary. Such a financial planner likely won’t have the same relationship with companies whose products they recommend, and they’re obligated to act in client’s’ best interest regardless of their personal compensation.
Independent financial planners normally work on one of two fee structures. Some charge a small fee for every transaction they perform. Others assess a small monthly or annual fee, which is typically expressed as a percentage of clients’ portfolios.
With two fee structures available, most people can easily find an affordable financial planner because there are options available.
Who Offers Financial Planning Services?
A professional who offers financial planning services may be referred to as a financial advisor, a financial planner or another term. Some of these terms are unregulated, while others have requirements attached to them. To make sure a professional is qualified, people should look for someone who’s:
- A Fiduciary, which requires them to act in the best interest of their clients at all times
- A Certified Financial Planner, which guarantees a certain level of expertise
- Independent, which means they aren’t obligated to promote a particular company’s products
- Registered Representatives of FSC Securities Corporation, which ensures planners follow applicable regulations
In addition to these preliminary criteria, people should also look for someone who will offer individualized attention and explain the various financial vehicles that are available. The service isn’t merely about giving clients a strategy for reaching their monetary targets, but it also includes helping clients understand all of their options and empowering them to make personal, informed decisions.
What Goals Can a Financial Planner Help With?
A financial planner’s services may help with any range of goals. A few common reasons people hire financial planners are to help:
- Build Wealth
- Pay College Tuition
- Prepare for Retirement
- Plan for Long-Term Care Needs
- Fund a Special-Needs Family Member’s Care