Most Americans have become aware of the benefits of financial planners, and of having a financial plan of their own. And now with the recent Wall Street crisis, public talk about financial plans and goals (and how yours may be weathering the storm) has become a lot more common. With all of this, it may seem that “financial planners” have been around forever. But according to Forbes.com, the financial planning profession has actually only been in existence for 40 years or less, and the idea of a “financial plan” is still a lot more nebulous and diverse than you may think.
What this means is that if you were thinking of hiring a financial planner so you can promptly hand over that mysterious and confusing responsibility, you’ll have to think again. You may have to be a lot more educated and involved in choosing your financial planner than you had hoped. A financial plan is not a “one-size fits all” commodity. Not even close. Mike Patton has titled his article “The Elusive Financial Plan”, and says “If you were to stop 10 people in the street and ask them, ‘what is a financial plan?’ you’d likely get 10 different answers.”
If you are not financially savvy you may be starting to worry just about now. How can you possibly be expected to know which of those 10 different plans (or which of 10 different planners) may be right for you? Luckily, you don’t have to decide alone. The best way to find a good match is to consult with friends who have financial goals and values similar to your own. Another option is to ask other trusted advisors for recommendations. Estate Planners work closely with many different financial planners and firms, and will be more than happy to help you find a good fit. An added benefit to asking your attorney is that the best estate plan to have is one that has the input of all of your advisors. The better the relationship between your financial planner and your estate planner, the better your plan will be.