Your Certified Financial Planner can be one of the most important people in your life (outside of your family of course). They will know the ins and outs of your finances, including what you can and can’t afford, tips on what you should and should not invest in, and of course your net worth. Certified financial planners are there to help you, but when are you supposed to call them or visit them? Here are several instances where a trip to go see your CFP should be made:
- Marriage or Divorce: If you have a new addition to your life, or are leaving a chapter of your life behind you, let your CFP know it. Some couples decide to integrate their finances, including joint checking and savings account, retirement savings, and investments like real estate. Your CFP can let you know how to make this transition go as smoothly as possible, which could include putting your partner on your accounts, vice versa, or removing them from your finances. Sure, you can do it yourself, but your financial planner can help expedite the process and tell you if it’s a good idea or not.
- Birth or Death: Celebrating the addition of a life or the culmination of one is a good reason to check in with your financial planner. Whether you’re welcoming a baby into your home, or saying goodbye to a family member, you should see how it affects your money. For a death, he/she will bring up life insurance, living wills and trusts, funeral costs, outstanding bills, and inheritances. If you visit your CFP regarding a new baby, topics that may arise include budgeting for your new addition, saving up for college, and including them on your insurance as a beneficiary.
- New Job or Job Loss: An income increase or decrease can call for an immediate trip to the financial planning office. Your CFP will guide you through the adjustments of a new job, including adjusting your budget according to your salary, helping you enroll in benefit packages, and talking to you about your retirement savings options. A job loss, all while devastating, will still be important to inform your financial planner. You will be guided through the process of unemployment benefits, reworking your financial goals, and ensuring your emergency fund can cover you for the time being.
- Financial Windfall: Whether you won the lotto, inherited a small fortune, or even got a bonus from work, let your Certified Financial Planner know. You’ll want to use your windfall wisely, maybe to pay off debt or supplement a savings goal. A CFP will discourage you from frivolous spending, and can spot where in your life you could use the extra cash.
- Move Out of State: Moving out of state can change a lot of things for you financially. Different states have different costs of living, taxes, salaries and real estate costs. Before you leave, meet with your planner and ask for their suggestions on making your financial life work in another place. They can probably refer you to a good real estate agent, find out how you’ll adjust to a new cost of living, and work with you on your taxes.
- New Business Venture: If you’re going into business for yourself, or jumping in on someone else’s venture, your money will most likely be involved, and so should your financial planner. He or she will let you know if it’s a good idea according to your financial profile. Can you afford it? Is it a good investment? Will this be a good long term decision? Your judgment may be clouded by the potential of this new project, but your CFP can show you logically if it can work or not.
- Major Purchase or Investment: Before you make any huge decision regarding a major purchase or investment, after discussing it with your spouse, the next phone call you should make is to your Certified Financial Planner. They are there to advise you, and you should use that to your advantage. They can help you make the best decision, including where to make your purchase, how much money to invest, and give you an idea of how this will affect your finances as a whole.
So if you have a CFP, don’t just call them once a year. Keep them up to date about financial lifestyle, and the life changes that may happen in the interim. They’ll appreciate it, and you will too.
Image courtesy of Dave Dugdale at Rentvine from his flickr photostream
Briana Myricks is a 20 something freelance writer and blogger. Striving for financial independence as a newlywed, she blogs about young married life at 20 and Engaged.