Should You Hire a Financial Planner or Do It Yourself?

Should You Hire a Financial Planner or Do It Yourself

You’re ready to get your financial life in order.

You’ve downloaded The New Family Financial Road Map, so you know exactly what’s involved in a good financial plan.

You’ve read my post detailing the process of actually making a financial plan, so you know the steps you need to take.

You may have even looked over my financial order of operations, which puts the spotlight on the highest priorities as you look to build your family’s financial security.

You’re armed and ready, but now you face a big question: should you hire a financial planner or do it yourself?

It’s not an easy decision, and there are good arguments on both sides. So in this post, I’d like to break down both options so that you can make a more informed decision and eventually put your family in the best financial situation possible.

6 reasons to do it yourself

There are plenty of reasons to at least give it a shot on your own.

You’re a smart, capable person who’s figured out a lot of life’s other big challenges. This is just another one that may feel insurmountable as you start, but is really just a series of small steps, one after another, just like anything else.

There are also a TON of free resources out there that can help you make the right decisions, like The New Family Financial Road Map. You still have to be careful when deciding which sources to trust, but there’s more information out there than ever before.

Another advantage to doing it yourself is that the upfront cost may be smaller. That can be a big factor if your budget is tight, though there are often places where a professional can actually save you money with their recommendations (such as your investments, insurance, and maybe even your cell phone).

You may already have a lot of the knowledge you need to get your financial plan on track, in which case hiring a financial planner may not be necessary, especially if your current situation is relatively simple.

Or you may simply enjoy the pursuit of knowledge, which would make doing it yourself a fun project. If the idea of researching, learning, planning and implementing your financial plan sounds fun to you, then have at it!

Finally, you may have a spouse or partner who’s just as interested in this as you are, wants to learn just like you, and won’t be afraid to challenge your ideas in search of the best answer. If that’s the case, you two may have the perfect team in place to do it together.

10 reasons to hire a financial planner

Those are all great reasons to do it yourself, and honestly that’s where most people start. It can be a great idea to do it on your own for a little while just to get a good sense of how you would like your financial system to work and what your particular strengths and weaknesses are.

But eventually you may feel like you want some help, and there are some good reasons to think about eventually hiring a financial planner to give you a hand.

The first is simply stress relief. Even the simple act of talking to someone about your financial situation can relieve a lot of anxiety, and when you have a professional on your side you may feel more confident that you’re making the right decisions.

You also may not have the expertise to know exactly what financial opportunities are available to you and how to best take advantage of them.

And on top of that, you may not have the time to learn what you need to learn in order to make the right financial decisions, either because you’re too busy or because you would simply rather spend your time doing other things.

Or maybe you just want to make a significant change quickly. Sure, you could spend the time needed to learn on your own, make some mistakes, and eventually wind up with a plan you like. But if you’re ready to make some big changes right now, a financial planner can speed up the process.

You may have been trying to do it on your own, but just haven’t found a system that works for your money. Maybe it feels like there’s always something unexpected that’s knocking you off track, like the pieces are never all quite aligned, or like it takes too much work to maintain. If so, maybe it’s time for a better system.

A lot of people seek out a financial planner when they’re going through a life event that’s causing them to re-think how they’re doing things. Getting married, having a baby, starting a business, and retiring are all common transitions that bring about big changes and can making managing your own financial plan a little more difficult.

Or maybe you just want a third-party unbiased opinion. Money is a very personal topic, and it can be helpful to have someone detached from your situation to bounce ideas off of and help you make rational decisions without getting caught up in the emotions of it.

If you and your partner disagree about how to handle your money, that can be another situation where having an unbiased advisor can help you bridge the gap and start working on a plan that makes you both happy.

You might know exactly what you want to do, but just want some help implementing the plan. Choosing the right investment accounts, getting insurance through the right insurers, and generally setting up the logistics so that it all works as smoothly and effortlessly as possible.

Or you might simply not know where to start. You might have too many questions and it all might feel a little too overwhelming, in which case a financial planner might be able to quickly get you on the right track so you can start making positive progress.

There’s no right answer

The truth is that there is no right answer here. Plenty of people manage their money just fine on their own, while plenty others find the help of a financial planner to be invaluable. Which one is right for you really depends on the specifics of your personal situation and your personal preferences.

But I will say this: there’s no weakness in asking for help. Even I have questions about how to best manage my own financial situation, and this is what I do for a living!

I’ve written before about how I reached out to a couple of financial planner friends when buying life insurance, and to this day I go back and forth about whether I should hire a financial planner for myself. These days I’m leaning more towards yes (though I haven’t pulled the trigger yet). I just think that having that third-party input would be valuable.

What I would encourage most people to do is try doing it on your own for a little while. See what it’s like, get a better understanding of your financial situation, and then decide whether you would like some help.

If at some point you think a financial planner might be helpful, next week’s post is going to help a lot. I know how confusing it can be to navigate the sometimes shady world of financial advice, so I’m going to share my thoughts on how to choose the right financial planner for your situation.

And in the meantime, if you would ever like to talk to a professional about your situation without any obligation to go beyond that, you’re welcome to schedule a call with me any time.

Start building a better financial future with the resource I wish I had when I was starting my family. It’s free!

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