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.