When you’re preparing for retirement, you want to avoid costly mistakes. And while hiring an attorney or accountant may help, think about hiring a financial planner too. A financial planner can help you develop a practical plan to help you meet your retirement goals.
What Do Financial Planners Do?
Financial planners do not manage your money. According to the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts, financial planners assess your current financial health. They examine your assets, liabilities, income, and more. They help you develop a realistic plan to meet your goals by looking at your financial weaknesses and strengths. With their help, you can put your plan into action and keep track of its progress. If your goals change over time, they can also help you adjust your plan.
Choosing a Financial Planner
If a financial planner has a CFP next to his or her name, that means they are a certified financial planner. Certified financial planners have passed a national test given by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. The certification test covers:
- Employee benefits
- Retirement and estate planning
Certified financial planners must also abide by a code of ethics.
Do Your Research
Choosing a financial planner is like hiring any other professional. Make sure you do your research so you can make a well-founded decision. While we can’t offer specific advice about hiring a financial planner, there are some things you should keep in mind:
- Check credentials, educational background and experience.
- Find out if he or she is a member of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.
- Get referrals from people you trust – ask friends, relatives and business associates.
- And finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions:
- Do they research the financial products they recommend?
- Do they offer a free consultation?
- Are they paid by fee, commission, or salary?