Blogs > Your Money

Dave Patterson and Erin Preston, a father-daughter team of Certified Financial Planner® licensees, provide thoughts and suggestions on a broad collection of personal finance topics.  Information provided in this BLOG is intended to be of a general nature and may not be appropriate for all situations.  Readers should consult with their own financial advisors before relying on any information contained herein.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Getting Over the Financial Advisor Hurdles

In a recent post titled “Financial Planning Isn’t Just for People with Lots of Money” (August 11, 2009) we discussed the benefits a financial advisor could have for anyone, whether they are wealthy or of modest means. Unfortunately, many individuals are reluctant to seek professional advice for a variety of reasons, even though they realize the benefits could be significant. Below, we’ve listed some of the most common reasons and how you might get over each hurdle:

Overcoming emotions: Some people are ashamed of the state of their financial affairs or feel guilty about letting their finances deteriorate. They are embarrassed to share the details of their situation with a financial advisor. If you are in that position, you need to understand that financial advisors are in the business to help people resolve their financial problems. They don’t expect people to be perfect or to know everything about managing money. The majority of planners we know have a true desire to help people with their money problems and would never belittle or embarrass anyone about their financial situation.

Worry about the cost: Many people are concerned about how much it might cost to seek professional help. Costs vary significantly. This is an area you need to pay special attention to. Some advisors “charge nothing” for financial advice. Beware of this type of arrangement. These advisors make their money on other fees or commissions and may or may not be qualified to give comprehensive financial advice. Others charge fixed fees or hourly fees. Whatever the fee arrangement, make sure it is clearly defined and get it in writing.

Let’s suppose an advisor wants $ 2,500 for a comprehensive plan. Are the financial savings likely to justify such a fee? Often a good advisor can significantly reduce taxes or expenses on one’s portfolio. Even a small reduction in taxes and expenses can result in thousands of dollars in just a few years. A review of your insurance policies can also be a potential way to save money. Advisors often help clients reduce their tax liabilities. Not to mention the cost savings you can attribute to your peace of mind in planning for your financial future. These are but a few ways a comprehensive financial plan can reap significant savings.

Procrastination: Some people just keep putting things off. If you are one of them, remember that each day you wait can be costing you significant savings in taxes, investment expenses, better investment returns as well as a number of other possible savings. A portfolio invested in holdings that carry high management fees can be costing you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars and you may not even realize it. Aristotle once said: “Well begun is half done.”

Afraid of getting bad advice: Some of you are perhaps worried about getting bad advice, being taken advantage of or just don’t know where to look to find a financial advisor. To start with, seek out a Certified Financial Planner®. The Financial Planning Association website has a “Planner Search” function that can help you identify planners in your area ( You can also visit the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards website for information on how to choose a planner ( Both sites include interview questions you can ask as you search for a qualified planner. We recommend that you interview several planners before making a selection. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Keep in mind also, some of the other benefits of seeking help. A financial advisor can help you take control of your financial affairs and give you a feeling of empowerment. They can help you clarify your goals and give you a detailed plan to accomplish them. Hopefully, the information above will help those of you who need some financial advice get over the hurdles that are currently getting in your way.


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