Working for a hedge fund manager, Lynn Palmer, 35, of Suffern, New York, is used to having reams of financial research at his fingertips. Yet, about 10 years ago, this father of three kids under 3 did something unusual among his peers—he sought the advice of a financial planner.
While his relationship with Bob Phillips, of A.G. Edwards, started out as a way for Palmer and his wife to save for retirement, it has morphed into much more.
"Bob and I work as a team to sound ideas off of one another and come up with new ideas," says Palmer. Asked why he doesn't manage his own money—given his profession—he says, "It's very time-consuming to do this on your own. I trade commodities for a living, not stocks … you wouldn't hire a butcher to make you a cake!"
Do I Really Need a Financial Planner?
Often parents are too intimidated to look at their "big" financial picture, warts and all. That's why picking the right financial planner to help you put the pieces of the puzzle together and get you on track to meeting your financial goals is a sound decision.
Financial planners can do a thorough analysis to make sure that you and your spouse have enough life insurance to meet your family's needs, now and in the future. They can give you creative ideas on funding retirement, as well as your child's higher education. They should offer you a variety of mutual funds and other investment vehicles, and some are able to sell individual stocks. Most planners are also willing to put you in touch with accountants, estate attorneys, and other professionals who can help you with various aspects of your financial life.
How Do You Know It´s the Right Time to Seek Financial Assistance?
"Sooner is better than later," says Bob Glovsky, JD, CFP, at Mintz Levin Financial Advisors, LLC, in Boston. "When you're just starting out, it helps to talk to somebody. It's not that the planner can only do a lot for you when you have some assets. He can look at your benefits at work, making sure that you have enough insurance, making sure that you are maximizing your savings," Glovsky says.