Here at AgingOptions we’ve spoken and written frequently about the pros and cons of hiring a financial planner. As you know if you’ve heard us discussing this topic, we are generally in favor of people hiring a professional to provide solid, objective financial advice, since the landscape can get very confusing when it comes to how to manage your money – particularly in retirement. We have several excellent financial planners we recommend, and if you’re interested we’re happy to share some of those names with you.
Even Pros Need Good Advice
But what about someone who already is a financial planner? That person shouldn’t feel the need to hire an outside professional to do something he or she already knows how to do, right? Actually, the opposite is often true. Just like a lawyer sometimes needs to hire a lawyer and a doctor will one day need advice from another physician, a smart financial planner may very likely decide that some professional input from a third-party source makes for a sound investment, if you’ll pardon the expression. That’s the point of this article that we just discovered on the Forbes website, called “Why I Hired A Financial Planner – Even Though I’m A Financial Planner Myself.”
“In recent years,” writes author and financial planner Roger Ma, “I’ve seen several articles about why hiring a financial planner could be beneficial, even for those in the financial planning profession. My gut reaction to these articles was, that’s crazy talk.” In Ma’s case, he’s a self-described financial junkie who loves “eating, breathing and dreaming about personal finance,” and he had no desire to spend money hiring someone to do something he could easily do himself. However, after some careful thought and reflection, he realized he might be doing himself and his wife a major disservice by continuing to go it alone when it came to their financial strategy. The couple established a clear set of criteria to choose the right advisor (more on that in a moment) and eventually made their choice.
Four Benefits of Hiring a Planner
There were, according to Ma, at least four reasons why they decided to make the investment and hire a planner. We share these with you because we think these benefits have merit. Here’s what Roger Ma and his wife were looking for:
- Unbiased Third-Party Insight: “All of us are influenced, to some extent, by our money scripts,” says Ma. “How we were raised and our relationship with money may influence, rightly or wrongly, our financial decisions. By working with an unbiased third party, my wife and I could ensure that past programming was not leading us to make bad decisions.”
- Better Communication Between Spouses: Because Ma is in the financial field, he writes that he usually leads the way when it comes to family financial decisions. “While I run every major financial decision by my wife,” he says, “she may not feel comfortable challenging or rejecting any of the strategies because she’s not as fluent in the topic.” But by working with an outside planner “allows both of us to be clients,” Ma adds, and makes it easier for his wife to ask questions.
- Avoiding Financial Blind Spots: Even though Ma is an experienced financial professional, he freely admits his knowledge has gaps. “I possess more knowledge and experience in some areas than others,” he says. “Working with another planner ensures I’m not overlooking an important detail just because it’s not my strength.”
- Improving His Own Professionalism: By working with someone else, Ma gets the chance to see how he might better serve his own clients. The experience has led him to make some concrete improvements in his practice.
Criteria for the Search
We mentioned above that Ma and his wife went about the search with specific selection criteria in mind. “We went through the same process for choosing a financial planner that I recommend to all of my readers,” he writes in Forbes, looking at education, experience, and types of certifications. They also asked about fees with a special eye on possible conflicts of interest. (We wrote about the issue of financial planners and their sources of compensation in this AgingOptions blog post last month.) Finally, they considered what type of working relationship they wanted, attempting to determine whether or not a particular planner would be a good fit. Ultimately, they made a choice they were both pleased with and the results have been very positive.
Take Charge of Your Plan
We like the approach Roger Ma and his wife took in finding solid professional guidance, because frankly it reflects the philosophy that we practice here at AgingOptions. Ma wasn’t too proud to ask for help. He and his wife entered into the process together. They had their eyes wide open and they knew what kind of relationship they wanted with the planner they chose. And most important, they took action instead of waiting around for something to change. When it comes to solid retirement planning (which is far more than just financial planning) you would do well to follow Roger Ma’s advice and seek out the kind of wise counsel that can ensure your future security, with your finances, health care, housing, legal affairs and family dynamics all properly and comprehensively addressed.
At AgingOptions we call our retirement planning approach LifePlanning. If you’re eager to find out more – without cost – why not do what thousands have done and join Rajiv Nagaich for one of our upcoming LifePlanning Seminars? Invest just a few hours and see if you don’t agree that there’s nothing like a LifePlan to give you true peace of mind for your retirement future. For details and convenient online registration, visit our Live Events page, or give us a call.
(originally reported at www.forbes.com)