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"Picking a Financial Planner Who Won't Break the Bank!"

Updated: Apr 23

If you've ever found yourself in the perplexing world of financial planning– you're in good company. The challenge lies in the fact that anyone can dub themselves a "financial planner" without any concrete credentials, leaving you aimlessly expending resources on a journey of confusion about who can genuinely help you and who's just looking to boost their own bottom line.


Picture this, salespeople masquerading as financial planners, making it an uphill battle to discern those with your best interests at heart from those aiming to pitch you "investment opportunities" that are more lucrative for them than they are for you. We have seen it time and time again. Especially in the post-pandemic world of discovering the overflow of "financial advisors" who have led people to making financial decisions for short term gain and long term criminal consequences.


In an ideal universe, you'd stumble upon a financial planner who not only comprehends the intricacies of real estate but also invests in it themselves.


But fear not – even if you can't find a financial planner there's a legion of supportive advisors out there who acknowledge your small business as a valuable asset worthy of inclusion in your financial plan.



To steer through this maze, it's essential to look for a financial planner who ticks three crucial boxes.


1. Fee-Only: Unlocking Financial Freedom

Opt for a financial planner who operates on a flat-rate fee rather than earning commissions.


Why?


Because when their income isn't tied to specific investments, they're not incentivized to push you into products that don't align with your goals. Picture it as a liberating experience where the focus is solely on providing you with sound financial advice rather than selling you a product.



2. Fiduciary: Your Best Interests at the Helm

Enter the fiduciary – your beacon of trust in the financial planning realm. A fiduciary is bound by a legal duty to prioritize your interests above their own. This means their recommendations aren't guided by the commissions they stand to earn but rather by what genuinely serves your financial well-being. In a world where conflicts of interest abound, having a fiduciary on your side ensures a commitment to your financial success.



3. Independent: Unleashing Flexibility

Independence is the name of the game when it comes to financial planning. Seek out advisors who are not tethered to specific funds or investment products, and who don't owe allegiance to an insurance company.


This independence grants them the flexibility to explore a myriad of investment options tailored to your unique needs. It's about having the freedom to craft a financial plan that aligns seamlessly with your goals, without the constraints imposed by affiliations.


Now, let's tackle a common dilemma: what if hiring a financial planner isn't in the cards for you right now? Fear not, because financial planning is not a distant castle accessible only to those with hefty budgets.


Here's a hands-on example of how you can kickstart your financial planning journey solo:





DIY Financial Planning: Your Personal Roadmap

  1. Set Clear Goals: Define your financial aspirations. Whether it's building an emergency fund, saving for a home, or planning for retirement, clarity on your goals is the first step.

  2. Budget Like a Pro: Track your income and expenses diligently. Create a budget that allocates funds to your priorities while ensuring you live within your means. Excel is perfect for this, to create a spreadsheet of your spending and tighten up on areas over budget.

  3. Emergency Fund: Establish a financial safety net by saving three to six months' worth of living expenses. This buffer provides peace of mind in unforeseen circumstances. Tip: Track how much you need to actually live off of, the priority spending (rent, groceries, car, insurance). This will allow you to save faster and not overwhelm you when reviewing how much to save. This will also reveal how much you spend that is excess and can be reallocated.

  4. Debt Repayment: Prioritize paying off high-interest debts. Tackling these first can free up funds for future investments. Tip: Pay extra on the highest interest rate account. Once that account is paid down/off, roll the funds you were using into paying extra on the next highest interest account and so forth. You will then have all accounts paid off step by step if your excess funds are small for the time being. Then those excess funds you used to pay down can be yours to save or treat yourself for your great work. (We suggest a treat and then save, instead of constant treating and ending back up in the same cycle. You worked hard for a new spending/saving habits, don't lose that muscle you built.)

  5. Invest Smartly: Even without a financial planner, you can dip your toes into the world of investing. Explore low-cost index funds or consult online resources to make informed choices.

  6. Review and Adjust: Regularly assess your financial plan. Life changes, and so should your strategy. Be adaptable and tweak your plan as needed. Tip: We suggest doing this every 6 months when you first get started and then 3 months from there to ensure your goals are being met.



Remember, the journey to financial well-being is not a sprint but a marathon. By incorporating these steps into your DIY financial planning toolkit, you're laying down the foundation for a secure and prosperous financial future.


Whether you're on a quest for the ideal financial planner or embarking on solo financial planning, the key lies in aligning your strategies with your personal goals and values. This will require you to focus your goals on your purpose, family and self. Try your best to not allow the intrusive world around you or distractions of "Media Goals".


The financial landscape may be intricate, but armed with knowledge and a dash of determination, you can stroll through it with confidence step by step. Here's to your financial empowerment!

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