Financial Advisors  Promote Your Business
Financial Advisors
Cost Report

Common Questions About Financial Planning

Life is full of questions — Will I have enough money for retirement? Do I have enough saved for my child’s education? How can I buy a home when I’m saving for all of these other things? These examples and many more might have you asking yourself if you should seek the advice of a financial professional. But maybe you are not quite sure where to start. Here are some commonly asked questions about financial planning that may get you on your way.

Who can use the term “financial planner”?

Government agencies do not regulate financial planners as financial planners; instead, they regulate planners by the services provided. As a result anybody can “hang out a shingle” and call himself or herself a financial planner. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) offers consumers a free brochure, “10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Planner,” which can help you look for someone who is qualified to offer financial planning advice. The brochure contains questions to ask during an initial interview with a planner to help you determine if he or she is right for you. To receive this brochure, call toll-free 800-487-1497 or visit

Why should I choose a financial planner over another type of financial adviser?
In general, if you’re not sure what advice you need, start with a financial planner. A financial planner will focus on your needs first before recommending a course of action. Most planners have been trained to take a broad look at your financial situation, while accountants, investment advisers, stockbrokers or insurance agents may focus on a particular area of your financial life. Always ask a financial adviser what qualifies him or her to offer financial planning services.

What is the best age to start financial planning?

While it is true that the younger you start the more beneficial the process will be, financial planning is worthwhile at any age. Although younger people may have more decisions to make regarding their financial lives, changing laws and circumstances can lead middle-aged people and seniors to have to adjust their financial plans as well. Changes in tax law, for example, may require many people to rethink certain investments or estate plans, and adequate disability planning becomes more important as people age.

How are financial planners paid?

There is no uniform method by which financial planners are paid. A planner can be paid a salary by the company for which the planner works; by fees based on an hourly rate, a flat rate, or on a percentage of your assets and/or income; by commissions paid by a third party from the products sold to you to implement the financial planning recommendations; or by a combination of these methods.

Do I have to pay a financial planner for the first interview? How much does a planner typically charge?

Most financial planners will meet with you at no charge, to talk about your reasons for wanting to work with them. During this initial session, planners will also decide if they can help you and explain how they would work with you. Like other professionals, the rates financial planners charge depends on their experience, geographic location, level of services and your needs. Interview more than one planner to get an idea of typical fees for financial planning services.

Brice R. Oldham, CFP®, is a financial planner with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and specializes in assisting clients, with help from their tax advisor and/or attorney, build efficient financial plans that help achieve the client’s specific goals. Founded in 1985, the CFP Board is a nonprofit certifying organization that owns the CFP® certification marks in the U.S. and benefits the public by fostering professional standards in personal financial planning.

Be the first to find this article helpful.

About the Author

Brice Oldham, CFP®, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
225 S. 6th St. Suite 5100
Minneapolis, MN 55402

If you would like to re-print this article, please contact the author.
Need a financial planner? Get matched to financial planners, stock brokers, and investment advisors in your area.
Find a Local Financial Planner

Related Topics

Financial Planning
Financial Advisors - Stocks & Bonds
Financial Advisors - Asset Management
Retirement Planning & IRAs
401-k Rollover Assistance
Human Capital or Productivity?
“Productivity is not everything, but in the long run it is almost everything.”

The importance of aligned interest
This article and 2 minute video discusses the difference between a Registered Investment...

No 401(k)? No Problem
Retirement plans are not limited to the popular 401(k). In fact, there are many...

Six Keys To Successful Investing
Here are six basic principles that may help you invest more successfully.

Learn to Become Happy and Successful
This article references the author's book of the same name. It helps teach the "Average...

Need a financial planner? Get matched to financial planners, stock brokers, and investment advisors in your area.

Other Related Topics

Spring Cleaning Your Finances
Follow these five tips when managing your finances, and you will ultimately make better...

Legal Platform Practices
Security and Control by Clients

Beyond Traditional Asset Classes: Exploring Alternatives
Stocks, bonds, and cash are fundamental components of an investment portfolio. However,...

The New Wave of Budgeting Part 2
After my last article I was asked the question: “Where do I start if I feel like all my...

Solving the Small Business Owner’s Retirement Dilemma
There’s a fatal flaw in the retirement of many small business owners: After pouring a...

Editorial Disclaimer: The views expressed in articles published on this website are those of the authors alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of this website or its staff. The articles on this site do not constitute a recommendation or endorsement with respect to any views, company, or product. Authors affirm that article submissions are their original content or that they have permission to reproduce.

Free Cost Estimates   |   Financial Advisors Directory   |   Financial Advisors Cost Report   |   Free Business Listing

Home   |   Articles & Videos   |   Affiliates   |   Networking Groups   |   Search by Category

Terms of Use   |   Privacy   |   About Us   |   Contact Us   |   Member Login

©2003-2019 - VentureStreet, LLC

Join Our Business Network