Your Take 
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comments

Your Take: Certified Financial Planners

Back in March I met with a financial planner and found the entire experience a little underwhelming. I thought I’d be meeting with a professional, someone who could give me some good solid advice for the way forward, but I got little more than a few pitches for insurance and some high cost mutual funds I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. That post garnered twenty-seven posts with people chipping in on their experiences and I was curious if there was something more to financial planning than selling insurance and mutual funds?

Was I talking to the wrong type of financial planner? There are so many certifications for people in the financial world that it’s hard to keep them straight. I knew about Certified Financial Planners but there are Chartered Financial Consultants, Chartered Investment Counselors, Certified Public Accountants and Personal Financial Specialists. Each one focuses on a different niche in the personal finance world and I start to wonder if I talked to the wrong person… or did I?

What’s your take on financial planners? Any advice on what I should do?


 Personal Finance 
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Met With A Financial Planner

So my friend Perry met with a financial planner named Andrew, as a favor because Andrew was his father’s friend’s son I think, and sold me out to him when the planner asked for some names of his friends who were interested (don’t worry, when it was my turn I didn’t give out any names). Anyway, I met with this financial planner (really, he was like a trainee or something, I met with this other guy Brian) the other day in a Baja Fresh and we got to talking about what it was he could do for me. He wasn’t an independent, he was part of some larger company that I hadn’t heard of until that day, and so he gave me his usual financial planner talk and we got to discussing my particular financial situation and what he could do for me.

Our talk first began with a look at my retirement assets and his eyes basically bugged out of his head when I told him how much I had saved in my 401K and Roth’s (A mixture of fortuitous emerging market fund performances, diligent saving, and starting a Roth [thanks Dad] when Ito meet face to was in college resulted in a larger than average for my demographic amount in my retirement savings, heavy emphasis on emerging market fund performances) and he told me I was probably doing okay and didn’t need much help there. I’m not anecdotally telling you this because I want you all to think I’m this wonderful retirement planner and I’m super responsible and awesome, I was just surprised that the guy didn’t have much to offer short of “save for retirement” and “save for retirement, here are a few funds you might want.” (none of which were offered by his firm, they were American Century funds) You would think that a financial planner would have something else to tell you outside what mainstream media already tells you, but I suppose a person telling you is better than a newspaper article.

The second part revolved around insurance policies, he told me that getting disability insurance was crucial because you never know what’s going to happen. He did offer one good nugget of information, that you should get your disability insurance from someone other than your employer in the event that you leave your job because then you won’t have to change insurers. I listened attentively but, like all brash twenty somethings, I pretty much dismissed the idea of disability insurance or life insurance because I didn’t see it as really necessary for someone as young as me. Is it foolish? Perhaps. Is it irresponsible? I don’t believe so.

So, that was my first experience meeting with a financial planner who didn’t even buy me lunch and it’s probably the last time I’ll meet with a financial planner unless something drastic happens.


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