As professional women, we outsource a lot of things. We get mani pedis, we go out to brunch, we don’t plan our own trips, we hire wedding planners, house keepers. We spend thousands of dollars a year at the salon having other people help us with things that we can do but chose not to because we don’t have the time. Even if we know how, we outsource to someone who knows better.

So why do we try to manage our own financial lives?

A lot of the reasons I hear from women I work with revolve around fear. Fear that you’re too behind to catch up, fear that you’re the only one not saving enough, not knowing who to trust or how to invest, fear of being taken advantage of, fear that the Financial Planner will tell you that you can never have mani-pedis or brunch again. I get it. The fear is real!

So let’s start with the basics. Who should you choose as a Financial Planner?

You should choose someone you like, trust and possibly someone who’s referred. There are plenty of designations out there like the CFP, CLU and CHFC which add credibility to a candidate, but I find, CFP or not, that you learn a lot of important information by taking a 1st meeting with a planner.

  • Are they a good listener?
  • Do they have other clients with similar goals?
  • Are they spending time trying to solve your problems (sell you a product) in the meeting or are they getting to know you and your goals?
  • Would you feel comfortable calling them on the best day of your life? What about on the worse?
  • Do they use a lot of technical jargon you don’t understand?
  • Do you feel comfortable asking questions?

By the end of a first conversation, something in your gut (the part of your brain that makes decisions but doesn’t speak in language) will tell you what you need to know.

Walking into a first meeting, have the mindset that this is just a meeting—and you can and should say no to another one. If you don’t feel great walking out of a 1st meeting—don’t go back. But, by all means, let them know you’ve decided to go another direction.

If the meeting with this first planner doesn’t work out—try again.

Ask a friend for a recommendation or reach out to some on your own and ask for an introductory meeting so you can get to know them.

Come prepared with some questions:

  • How do they charge fees (retainer, commission, based on assets under management)?
  • What’s their process?
  • What are their minimum client requirements?
  • Who are their average clients (age, income, life stage, etc.)

Once you decide on “the one” be sure to ask any questions and voice concerns you have along the way. I want my clients to reach their financial goals, but I want them to do it on their terms and in a way that makes sense to them.

Moral of the story? Working with a Financial Planner should make you feel like a rock star! If it doesn’t, then you’re working with the wrong one J  Prepare a list of financial goals, interview one (or a few if necessary) to find someone that speaks your language and has demonstrated an understanding of your goals. Learn about other scenarios in which they’ve helped a client achieve similar goals. Meet any other resources they may recommend and if you don’t understand or agree with their recommendations—be sure to let your voice be heard!

If you’d like to learn more about my process, or what it takes to become one of my clients or even just interview me, reach out to me via email to schedule a quick chat: [email protected].

Happy Planning,

Kristin O’Neal
Financial Planner
Spectrum Financial Group