(NewsUSA) - Experts agree that financial planning has many benefits. It can help you protect your family, worry less about finances and reach your goals at any stage of life. These benefits can be even greater if you work with a professional financial planner who is trained to show you how to make sound investment choices, save money on taxes and rein in high-interest debt, among other things.
If you’ve decided that you need a financial plan and would like to work with a financial advisor to create it, you might be wondering where to find an advisor. Asking friends, family or colleagues to recommend an advisor can be a good place to start, especially if they earn a similar income as you and seem to be successfully managing their money. There are also numerous resources available online to help you find a financial advisor.
One of those tools is LetsMakeaPlan.org, a website maintained by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board). The site features a search tool that helps you find a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional by location and planning services offered. CFP® professionals must complete an extensive, multiyear certification process that ensures they obtain the skills and real-life experience needed to provide comprehensive financial planning. They also make a commitment to putting your interests first.
When you are hiring a CFP® professional, how you will pay for their services is a key question to ask. Different financial advisors may charge differently, or one financial advisor may offer several different ways that clients can choose to pay. Many financial planners use the assets under management (AUM) model, in which the financial planner gets paid a percentage of the assets they manage for you. Some CFP® professionals may earn a commission on a transaction. Others charge hourly fees, subscription fees or fixed fees for specific services. You should ask a CFP® professional to lay out the details for how they charge at the beginning of your engagement.
Lower-income families or those facing a financial crisis may find help through the Foundation for Financial Planning. The foundation can help connect you with a CFP® professional who provides financial planning services free of charge. These connections are made through financial capability workshops and webinars offered by nonprofit groups and other foundation grantees, as well as through one-on-one financial planning sessions.
Once you’ve found a competent, ethical financial planner, you can start the planning process together and begin working toward a more secure tomorrow.