A Financial Planner to Match Your Needs

There are many types of financial planners. Unlike doctors, lawyers, and accountants, anyone can use the “financial planner” or “financial advisor” titles.  Some financial planners primarily sell insurance products as a way to meet your financial goals.  Others focus on your investments and charge you a fee to manage your money.  Comprehensive financial planners focus on your overall finances and help you develop and execute a plan that includes your monthly cash flow, insurance, investment, tax, retirement, and estate advice; I’m this type of financial planner.

It is important to know the particular area of expertise and focus of anyone who offers to act as your financial planner or advisor. 

Niches for Comprehensive Financial Planners:

Because of the breadth of topics covered, the trend is for comprehensive financial planners to focus on a particular niche.  The financial issues of a retired couple with a good pension are quite different from those of young tech professionals with restricted stock units.  The financial issues related to divorce are very different from those of small business owners nearing retirement.  My niche is working-age couples and tech professionals in Brevard county because:

  • I have personal experience as a tech professional and two-income family
    • Both groups are under-served by the financial planning industry
    • I like solving and talking about complicated puzzles.

Financial Needs of Working-Age Couples

The priorities of working-age couples are usually their job(s) and their children.  There is rarely time left over to learn how to optimize their decisions about money.  Couples are constantly making money trade-offs between current spending and saving for their various goals such as family vacations, future college, and retirement.  They are also making time trade-offs between their families and their careers, and that has an impact on their money and their future goals.  Each family is its own, unique and complicated puzzle.

Financial Needs of Tech Professionals

In my experience, tech professionals want to understand the math and logic behind financial decisions in a more detailed way than most financial planners (of whatever type) provide.  Beyond that there are often special types of compensation for tech professionals, including stock options, restricted stock units, and founders’ shares.  Many have a desire for financial freedom early in life, and therefore spend much less than they earn, which means their investments take on even greater importance.

Bottom Line:

Comprehensive financial planners attempt to address the entire puzzle that is your money and how you want to use it to achieve the life you want.   If you are looking for help with your finances, you can often find a planner to address your specific situation, but you will need to look beyond the title “Financial Planner.”

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