As you grow older and evaluate your financial situation, the question might cross your mind: “Do I need a financial planner?” Honestly, the answer depends on your personal preference and financial goals.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you make a choice:
What’s my current financial situation?
If you’re juggling your finances, struggling to meet your goals or have severely limited funds, a financial planner might not be right for you at the moment. Focus your efforts on paying off debt, growing your savings and setting a realistic budget, first, then consider speak to an advisor. Until then, you can use an online or mobile money manager to get your finances in order.
If you’ve been saving for a while and are nearly debt-free, on the other hand, it might be time to sit down with a financial planner and discuss your future goals.
What are my future financial goals?
Once you’ve determined what you want to do with your money, both now and in the future, a financial planner can help you achieve what Jill Schlesinger, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards ambassador, says is most important: becoming debt-free, saving 6-12 months worth of expenses in an emergency fund and maximizing your retirement account.
Talk to an advisor with your preferred bank to achieve what Schlesinger calls the “holy grail of financial security.”
What does my investment portfolio look like?
Your investments are an important part of your financial standpoint. If you have one or two investments and you’re happy with how they’re performing, you probably don’t need a financial planner. Similarly, if you have a small amount of money you’re ready to invest, a money manager might be a cheaper and more time-efficient solution.
If you have a complex portfolio, however, or are looking to expand beyond your current knowledge, a financial adviser can help make sense of a volatile market.
How much time do I have to spend on financial meetings?
Financials aside, sometimes you just don’t have time to make a meeting with a financial planner. They typically work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at a local bank branch, which can make it difficult for those with regular job hours.
If you’re putting in extra hours at work or stressing about finding time to sleep, consider an online adviser or money management app to help get you started. You can always make an appointment when your schedule opens up a bit.
How comfortable am I with money?
Finally, look at your financial records and determine how much of it you understand. If you feel comfortable with where you’re at and know where you want to be in a few years, make a plan for yourself. If you’re overwhelmed by bank statements, credit card offers and home loan spam, make an appointment and ask to conduct a financial audit. Your planner will help you determine what you need to do know to end up where you want to be.