Article A personal coach for your financial life

Having a financial advisor in your corner helps you focus on what matters most

Not just for the wealthy

In life, there are a lot of jobs you can handle yourself, like changing a lightbulb or unclogging a drain. Others, like a pipe burst or kitchen remodel, you know to call in the pros. When it comes to your finances, though, it can be tricky to figure out which jobs are DIY. You know you can handle simple tasks like paying your bills, but what about making sure you're saving enough or creating a financial plan? If you’re feeling out of your depth it can help to have a knowledgeable professional to reach out to about your finances.

A financial advisor is a professional with training, knowledge and experience in helping people manage their finances and plan ahead. A common misconception is only wealthy people with complex situations can benefit from professional advice. In fact, financial advisors work with people in all different financial situations.

Simply working for a financial company doesn't make someone a financial advisor. They must pass industry-related exams, obtain certifications, etc. to help make sure they have a certain level of understanding and experience on a broad set of financial topics. And when you work with a financial advisor, you can benefit from the tools and resources they have access to that you otherwise wouldn't. All of this means more of your time could be spent on other things that really matter to you.

A helping hand

So how do you know when it's the right time to bring in an experienced professional to help improve the quality of your financial decisions?

By getting to know you and your entire picture, a financial advisor can tailor a plan for your unique situation and goals. If you've ever found yourself in—or just wondering about—these situations, it could be a smart move to call on a professional:

Your financial life could use a little TLC.

Whether it's giving to family members efficiently, or letting philanthropy take a front seat, it's important to you to plan, document and communicate your intentions.

A major life event is expected.

Looking to buy a house? A little one on the way? Thinking about the cost of college? Milestones like these can significantly impact a person's finances.  

Retirement is top of mind.

You want to make sure that you have a plan designed to help you realize—and protect—the lifestyle you envision in retirement.  

You're thinking about needs beyond your own.

Whether it's giving to family members efficiently, or letting philanthropy take a front seat,  it's important to you to plan, document and communicate your intentions.

Before meeting with a financial advisor

A good first step is to gather important documents (PDF, 111 KB) such as your financial statements. This, along with anything else they suggest you bring will help support your conversation. And to make the most of your time together, here are a few questions you could ask.

Ask yourself:

  • What does my vision for the future look like?
  • Do I have any concerns?
  • Who are the people that matter most to me?

Ask your financial advisor:

  • Can you tell me a little about you and your team?
  • How often can I expect us to be in touch?
  • What should I focus on between now and our next meeting?

Whether you feel confident about your financial situation or are unclear what move to make next, with so many goals competing for your limited financial resources it can be challenging to manage them yourself. With a knowledgeable professional in your corner you'll have the support you need to feel more confident about the choices you're making. And you'll be able to spend more time focusing on the future you envision and what matters most to you.