If your investment portfolio is growing and your finances are going well, you may think you don’t need the help of a comprehensive financial planner. After all, financial advisers do charge fees for their services, so you can save yourself that money by managing your wealth on your own.
But it’s not that simple, is it? Financial advisers don’t seem to think so. Sure, their services cost money, but the advice you get from a qualified professional can be worth its weight in gold.
If you’re not using a financial planner, there are plenty of services you aren’t getting that you may not even know about. We reached out to financial advisers to find out some of the biggest unknown benefits they offer their clients.
1. Get help changing your financial behavior
According to financial adviser Kaya Ladejobi, the behavioral aspect of financial planning is a lot more important than you might think. It’s not that people don’t know they should be investing regularly and thinking long-term, it’s more that they may not have the time or resources to find out which strategies will help them achieve financial success.
“A great financial planner will do an extensive discovery process to understand your history, your goals, and values,” says Ladejobi. “Then he or she can use this knowledge to help structure your financial plan and counsel you for optimal results.”
Ladejobi says she goes a step further with clients, having them take an assessment quiz that helps them understand their financial perspectives and wealth potential based on their attitudes about money. She then takes them through a goal-mapping exercise to find out the specific things they want their money to do for them.
The planner says these exercises help her figure out who is a saver or a spender, and who might panic under pressure if the stock market dives overnight.
If you have a financial planner who understands you, your behavior, and how you’re likely to react in any given situation, they can use that knowledge to help you dismiss your worst impulses and stay the course with your financial plan. They can also help you find ways to save more money — an important benefit if you’re not saving enough already.
2. Have someone to hold you accountable
Financial adviser Echo Huang of Echo Wealth Management says using a financial planner is a lot like hiring a personal trainer. “Just as a personal trainer holds you accountable to your fitness goals, a financial planner holds you accountable for achieving your financial goals,” she says.
If you’ve ever tried to reach a fitness goal, you know how hard it can be to get up early, get dressed, and get to the gym. But if you have someone there waiting for you, it makes things so much easier, she says.
That added level of accountability can make all the difference whether you’re trying to grow wealth or work out more. Without someone to hold you accountable, however, it’s way too easy to push off your goals for another day.
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3. Save yourself some time
Managing your own investment portfolio takes time — time that many people just don’t have. But if you truly want to DIY your investments, you’ll need to use your time to map out a comprehensive financial plan, rebalance your investments regularly, figure out strategies to reduce your tax bill, and create a realistic list of short-term and long-term goals. Oh, and don’t forget to formulate a plan to achieve them.
Daniel Kopp of Wise Stewardship Financial Planning says that this is the main reason his clients hire him.
“Most of my clients are busy people, and they either lack the specific knowledge, time, discipline, or emotional bandwidth to research investments, plan for financial goals in the most tax-efficient ways, and follow through consistently,” he says.
He also says one of the major pain points clients face is figuring out how to handle their savings because they just don’t know what to do with it or keep putting it off. They may even have a bunch of ideas about what they want to do financially, but aren’t sure how to prioritize their 401(k), saving for a down payment, IRAs, their kids’ 529s, or their next big vacation.
Kopp and other financial planners do the grunt work for their clients, helping them figure out what to do based on their individual financial situation. Their work ultimately saves those clients time, which they can use to do something they actually enjoy.
4. Learn what not to do
Most people think financial planning is mostly about getting advice on the different ways to invest your money. However, there’s something to be said for getting solid advice on pitfalls to avoid — and having the benefit of learning from other people’s mistakes.
Nashville-area financial adviser Brenton Harrison says this is one reason financial advisers are often worth their salt. They see a lot of stuff — including financial decisions and investment choices that have turned out poorly over the years.
“When you handle your finances, you only get the benefit of seeing and experiencing the results of your own actions,” he says. “While that experience can be valuable, you won’t know the financial consequences of some decisions you make today until 20 or 30 years down the line.”
Financial advisers have the benefit of meeting with multiple clients every day and seeing how all their decisions — good and bad — have worked out in the end.
“They use that knowledge to give you an informed opinion on the right steps you should take financially, because they’ve seen the outcomes firsthand,” notes Harrison. “That alone is worth paying for.”