When it comes to money, many of us have no idea where to start. Understanding what to do — and when to do it — can be tough in some cases. It can be easy to become overwhelmed and shut down. If making money decisions is difficult, or if you just need a little nudge here are 5 ways a financial planner might be able to help you:

1. Identify Goals and Spending Priorities

Many of us have a hard time identifying what’s important. A financial planner can sit down with you, and help you look at your future needs, and figure out goals and spending priorities. A good financial planner will help you decide what needs to be done, and help you pinpoint the most important things you could be doing with your money.

2. Educate You about Different Financial Products and Options

A good financial planner can serve as a teacher in some cases. If you want to know about different asset classes, or better understand different financial products, your financial planner can help you. Choose a financial planner that isn’t working off commissions for certain products sold, and you should get an unbiased opinion. Your financial planner can explain your options, and help you determine which are likely to help you meet your goals.

3. Provide a Dose of Reality

Sometimes, we get carried away when it comes to our dreams of future prosperity. Other times, we might be too pessimistic, thinking that we can’t ever turn things around. In both cases, a good financial planner can provide a healthy dose of reality. Your financial planner can offer you realistic timelines, and help you modify your expectations so that you don’t end up too far off base. Whether it’s getting out of debt, or building your retirement nest egg, a financial planner can help you put together a big picture based in reality.

4. Create a Financial Roadmap

Once you have a realistic idea of what you can accomplish in terms of your financial aspirations, you will need a plan. Your financial planner can help you create a money roadmap. This financial plan can specify asset allocations, how much you need to set aside each month, and how things might change as you progress in age and reach different life stages. A comprehensive financial plan should address different accounts, and even help you reach multiple goals as you pass different milestones. Putting together this plan can be a good way to ensure that you are accomplishing what you want to financially.

5. Keep You on Track

Even though you don’t have to keep working with a financial planner, it might not be a bad idea to check in. Your financial planner can be someone to whom you are accountable for you money decisions. He or she can help keep you on track, and remind you to say no to certain spending decisions, and help you continue to make good decisions. Checking in can help you stay on track with your plan, and knowing that you will have to face your financial planner can be a motivation to stick to your plan.



Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.