Hello SOTGC community,
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you need professional help for a problem.
Is it just a cold or is it a virus that you need an antibiotic for? Can you fix the sink yourself or should you call a plumber? Change the oil on your own or go to the mechanic? Seek out a personal coach or manage the chaos solo? … You get the picture.
The same circumstances tend to arise around finances. Questions pop up that people tend to deem as “silly” or “stupid” and problems arise that people feel aren’t at the level of needing professional assistance. So instead of seeking out help, they choose the route of going it alone, which isn’t necessarily the best course of action. While taking an active role in life is always a good thing, sometimes keeping things too close to home and/or not reaching out to a professional can lead to delays in reaching your goals and more out-of-pocket expenses. (This sometimes happens in my house when we take on projects that are too big – more money ends up being spent than if we had hired a professional to begin with. )
It’s hard to tell when you might need a financial planner, and the tips below are by no means a comprehensive list, but read on for five signs you may need a financial planner in your life:
- You’ve recently married. The merging or not-merging of finances is a huge step. Not only are there emotions to contend with, but there are forms to update, cash flow to track, debts to pay down, goals to lay out, and a reorganization and prioritization of spending habits and needs in general. Communication is key during this transition in order to navigate the questions that may arise around taxes, selecting benefits, having a joint role in the management of the household, deciding whether or not to maintain separate bank accounts and more.
- You’re a business owner. Whether you’re considering starting your own business or you’re a long-term entrepreneur – being a business owner can lead to questions around how to prioritize your goals, pay yourself versus the business, and find the best way to manage your cash flow on an income that fluctuates monthly. Questions also arise about saving for retirement, obtaining health insurance, and ensuring that you and your family are protected against a loss in income from death or disability.
- You’re in the market for a big purchase. Large purchases can sometimes be handled with simple budgeting. However, when looking towards purchasing a first home or making or another sizeable investment, understanding the overall affects on your cash flow, lifestyle, and future goal-planning are huge. How much home can you afford? What other goals are you willing to put on the back burner? Will you be able to save? Have you factored in maintenance costs?
- You’ve made or are making a career change. Along with job or career changes comes a change in income and benefits. It’s important to make sure you’re maximizing your company benefits, appropriately planning for any income fluctuations, taking into account future job growth or career prospects, and considering the overall affect the transition will have on your lifestyle.
- You’re expecting or have a new family addition. Planning for a baby comes with a slew of considerations. From ensuring you have an adequate emergency fund (three to six months worth of expenses), to adjusting your spending plan for childcare, grocery, and medical costs, to updating your estate plan and insurance coverage to ensuring your family is protected in case something happened to you, there are a number of updates to make in your financial house when children are involved.
There are hundreds of signs that one may need a financial planner, but the number one thing to keep in mind is that there are no stupid questions when it comes to your finances. Don’t sit on the sidelines because you’re afraid to ask a question or if you think you’re not qualified to be a client. If you’re reaching out to a solid and respectable planner, they’ll let you know if they can’t help you and they’ll refer you to someone that can. They’ll also let you know if they think you can “go it alone.” Taking the first step in asking for help is always the most difficult, but you may be surprised by the kind of assistance and feedback you get when you open yourself up to the possibility that not everything should be handled solo.
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