Why We Got Started with a Certified Financial Planner

by Erika Torres

handling consumer debtA few years ago, when Eric and I were mired in debt and it seemed like we would never get ahead, I read a post from a blogger who had a Certified Financial Planner.

I was surprised, because I had assumed that CFPs were only for the wealthy. Like, extremely wealthy.

I was really interested in pursuing it further, but because we had so much debt, and we had no idea what the cost of a CFP would be, we decided to revisit it in a few years.

That day finally came this past summer and we reached out to a CFP from a recommendation. As soon as we met her, we really clicked and instantly liked her.

What A CFP Will Do For Us

If I need medical advice, I go to a doctor. So of course it made sense to hire an actual expert to manage our long term financial planning. Yes, we could do it ourselves, but why wouldn’t we seek advice from an expert on something as valuable as our finances?

A CFP can help you do a lot of things, from budgeting to goal setting to planning. Through an initial meeting, you tell your CFP exactly what your financial goals are.

For us, our immediate financial goal is to buy a house. We are doing everything in our power to buy a house next year.

Our other most important goal, but more long term, is for both Eric and I to retire at 55, living a very comfortable lifestyle that allows us to travel frequently.

Our CFP’s job is to look at our finances, and tell us the reality of those goals, and what else we need to be doing to make sure we’re on the right track.

Your CFP can help you do a number of things besides goal-setting. A lot of people need help simply with budgeting. (Sidenote: Our CFP was incredibly impressed with my budgeting skills!). Some need more help with retirement planning, etc. Basically, anything finance related, a CFP should be able to help you.

Our Experience So Far

Eric and I have been thrilled with the experience so far. We had our first meeting this past summer, and have met three times so far. The first year with your CFP, you have more meetings to get on the right track. And then as the years go on, you have quarterly meetings.

We pay an annual fee (completely affordable btw), and then our CFP also gets a very small percentage of our investment accounts. We have a fee-only advisor, meaning she doesn’t get a commission for referring us to any specific products or accounts or based on the number of trades. It is in her best interest that we earn the most money in our accounts. Here is an article with more info on fee-based vs commission-based financial planners.

As many times as I have tried to understand stocks and investments, the truth is I don’t and frankly don’t have the interest, drive, or the time. Instead, it is wonderful having a CFP take care of that part for us for a nominal fee.

Truthfully, I already feel like we are making better financial decisions now jut based on the past three meetings we’ve had with her. While I don’t feel comfortable sharing any specific advice she’s given us, I will say that there have already been three key pieces that will come into play within the next year.

You can meet with a CFP one-time to get on the right track, or like us, can establish a relationship with your CFP for long-term financial planning.

*Disclaimer: I am not an expert nor is this advice. This is simply our first-hand account of our experience with a Certified Financial Planner.



risk management Texas February 25, 2018 - 11:43 pm

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financial planning Avon December 26, 2017 - 3:35 am

Choose a financial advisor who is not only qualified, but who is also authentic and trustworthy.

alternative investments Plano July 9, 2017 - 8:33 am

Financial advisers are really just concern on your retirement plans and how you will have a good retirement.

Cameron Collins April 17, 2017 - 11:20 pm

You mention some great points – those who are younger and less wealthy really need financial guidance more than the wealthy. Too many throw away their money and are not aware of how they can put it to good use! Once they realise what they can do with it, they become more responsible and goal-driven.

Matthew David Rubin December 28, 2016 - 1:12 am

CFP qualification is the highest standard in personal financial planning, which qualifying financial planning professionals to provide their clients with comprehensive financial advice.

Brian November 15, 2016 - 7:42 am

Having a financial planner to help you plan for your goals is really important. Many people do believe that a financial is for the extremely wealthy, but like you said, it can be for anyone. Thanks for sharing!

Ruby J. Cummings September 19, 2016 - 2:20 am

Thank you for such a great post.It very useful and help me a lot.
I would like to say that a certified financial planner is a much-needed for all those who are looking to secure their financial future.
There are a number of reputable governing boards that monitor the certification and the continuing education of these planners. These independent boards help make sure that each certified financial planner meets certain necessary requirements.
A financial planner who has been certified can also help us to stay updated of all the latest news and trends and help us to take advantage of the markets to maximize the returns on your investments.
Every certified financial planner is trained to assist you benefit the most out of your financial situation.

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post and like it very much!!!
Best Regards,
Ruby J. Cummings

Lyle L. Ketner August 31, 2016 - 11:49 pm


I really like your post!! It is quite informative and useful. Yes, Financial Planning is extremely important. Finding the right financial planner becomes easy if you get a list that includes the best from the industry.
The biggest way a financial planner can help you is by offering advices on a wide array of financial topics that shall help you gain a stable financial future. However, any finance-related advice requires a combination of several small components to be mentioned by you that are best described as financial details; the financial planning expert, in return, shall either ask for a flat fee or an hourly payment.

Thanks for this wonderful post! Keep share more!


larissa August 29, 2016 - 12:50 pm

Makes a lot of sense to do this. This is actually so smart and something I definitely want to do. Getting off on the right foot is always more helpful than given credit for and it is just such a huge relief and weight off the shoulders to know that there is someone who can give you guidance with something as important as finances. Thanks for sharing such an awesome and informative post!

Ben @ financial advisor nz July 28, 2016 - 11:45 pm

CFP certification is the highest standard in personal financial planning, which qualifying financial planning professionals to provide their clients with comprehensive financial advice.

Kenneth Gladman March 23, 2016 - 1:24 pm

My wife and I have been thinking about getting a financial planner. We have been married three years now and as much as we would like to do it ourselves, we don’t know where to begin. Thanks for sharing your experience, I found it interesting that you found yourself making better decisions almost immediately. I feel like it could make a big difference, as far as retirement is I would still like to be well prepared.

bryanflake1984 July 27, 2015 - 2:39 pm

I really like the name of your blog. Newlyweds on a budget seems to be a very important concept in life. My girlfriend and I are getting close to getting married. We will most definitely need to save money in those first few years of marriage. What are the best things to look for in a financial planner?

matt October 23, 2014 - 2:22 am

it is good article thank you guys.

Debt and the Girl October 20, 2014 - 4:21 pm

I have heard that getting a fee only CFP is the best ay to go. Although I did know someone who had a commission only planner and had fabulous results. Who knows what kind of stocks this guy was picking out for her. i would be interested in getting one later down the line as well.

Well Heeled Blog October 17, 2014 - 10:49 pm

We don’t have a CFP because we feel confident enough managing our money for now and our nest egg isn’t quite big enough where we’d need professional help. I’d be open to hiring a financial planner, though, when our circumstances change.

Tim October 16, 2014 - 1:41 am

It’s good to read up on finance blogs, they often have help ideas for budgeting and future finance management!

Shannon October 15, 2014 - 8:44 am

Thank-you for posting this.

As someone who is pursuing her CFP and working in the industry, it’s nice to see someone comment on how beneficial it is to work with someone who has the Education. As you point out, you don’t have time to get educated about investments, so that’s why you pay someone to help you with yours. Too many people think they can “go it on their own,” when all of the research out there shows working with an Advisor will actually pay off in spades over the long term, with most households making 50%+ more money over the span of 15 years+, than those who don’t work with an Advisor.

Best of luck to you with you Advisor! It sounds like you found a good one.

TJ January 23, 2015 - 11:39 am

50% more money? That seems like an absurd claim. What studies show this?

I could see 50 basis points, but not 50%.

evolvingpf@gmail.com October 15, 2014 - 8:24 am

We haven’t seen any planners yet but I’d be interested it. Fee-only at first, then maybe fee-based once we’re wealthy. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience but I wish you had passed on what the advice was! I just think it would be really interesting for a PF-oriented person to be told to change course a bit. I think I’d be very defensive!

Holly@ClubThrifty October 15, 2014 - 5:42 am

I like the idea of fee-based financial planners. I would be hesitant to buy investments from someone who gets more money by selling me specific products. I prefer honest advice that can’t be influenced by someone else’s bottom line.

Amy @ Army Amy October 14, 2014 - 8:06 pm

I have never really considered anything like this before. Then I read this line: “but why wouldn’t we seek advice from an expert on something as valuable as our finances?” That’s a good point! It seems like finances are a place that I shouldn’t be flying blind or playing by ear. We have access to free support through the military, but I’m not sure exactly if it’s with a CFP or someone with a totally different background. After reading your post, though, I’m a lot more motivated to actually look it up and do something about it.

catherine October 14, 2014 - 6:41 pm

Where I know so little about investing etc I plan on getting established with a CFA initially, if for no reason other than advice.

Henrietta Schermeier October 14, 2014 - 5:24 pm

What percent are you paying to your advisor? That doesn’t sound fee-only to me.

Mrs PoP October 14, 2014 - 3:42 pm

We have access to a fee only CFP through my 401K, and I can visit with him quarterly if I want. I’ve gone to see him a few times, but feel like every quarter is a bit much since we’re on auto-pilot for the time being.
I like flat fee planners or those that charge by the hour; I definitely wouldn’t pay a CFP a percentage of my portfolio.

cece October 14, 2014 - 3:39 pm

Very interesting. I’m pretty sure we could use some advice from an advisor. I’m so good at budgeting and with money etc and I do my retirement funds but have no clue in terms of investments or what more we could/should be doing.


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