You’re probably already aware of the importance of financial planning for the long-term success of any individual, family, or business. With the right framework in place, achieving financial freedom or reaching your goals is easier to manage. Unfortunately, many people underestimate the power of working with professionals. By partnering with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional, you have a knowledgeable ally who can lead you in the right direction.
The Importance of Financial Planning
Having the ability to fund a child’s education, have a secure retirement, buy a dream home, or keep a business growing rarely happens by accident. Instead, it takes time, dedication, and focus, along with the right mix of banking services and financial products to make your goals a reality.
Financial planning encompasses every aspect of your financial life, not just investing. Everything from the budget you craft to the savings account you choose to the retirement plan you select is part of your financial plan.
Allowing these decisions to happen haphazardly means you aren’t optimizing your selections to make achieving your goals easier. However, when you embrace financial planning, you begin to look at these choices with a discerning eye. You understand how they play a role in your long-term success, and this fundamental shift in mentality can make a substantial difference in your life.
Why You Need a CFP® Pro in Your Corner
Many people assume they can navigate their financial lives on their own and reach success. However, understanding the nuances of every decision isn’t something that comes naturally. Instead, it takes a significant amount of knowledge to ensure that every important detail is considered.
When you partner with a financial planner, you gain access to their expertise. They can provide you with clear and customized guidance based on your unique goals, allowing you to develop a robust plan according to your needs.
However, not all financial planners are created equal. Some people assume that everyone who calls themselves a financial planner is certified, but that simply isn’t the case. The title of financial planner isn’t reserved for those with specific training or experience, so relying on the title alone when you select a partner isn’t a guarantee that they have an appropriate amount of knowledge.
But, when you choose a CFP® professional, you can rest assured that they meet rigorous requirements set by the CFP Board. This includes:
- At least 4,000 hours of financial planning experience;
- Passing a comprehensive CFP® certification exam;
- Training in 72 separate financial topics that range from investing to estate planning; and
- The promise that their clients’ interests will come before their own when they are providing financial planning services.
Ultimately, by partnering with a CFP® professional, you are working with the best and brightest financial planners available. They will always work to make your goals a reality by creating customized solutions that meet your precise needs.
When’s the Right Time to Start with a CFP® Pro?
It’s a common misconception that only the rich need a CFP® professional in their corner. Similarly, some believe that households without children or young, single adults don’t need the support of a CFP® professional.
In reality, achieving a secure financial future should be a priority for everyone. The earlier you get started, the easier it is to achieve your goals. This means that, no matter what life stage you are in, now is the perfect time to partner with a CFP® professional.
A CFP® professional can help you take control of your financial life, no matter where you are today. A functional budget enables you to pay off debt and start saving for retirement or other goals, and a CFP® financial planner can get you moving in the right direction.
If you recently had children and want to make sure they can afford college, a CFP® professional can adjust your approach to make this financial objective possible. If you want to start investing but don’t know where to begin or are getting ready to retire and want to make sure you use your savings wisely, your CFP® professional partner has the expertise you need to move forward confidently.
Ultimately, no matter your age or financial situation, starting with a CFP® pro now increases the odds that you’ll have your ideal financial future.
How to Choose a CFP® Professional
Selecting a CFP® pro doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. There are over 80,000 CFP® professionals in the United States, so there are likely a few near your home or office.
As you begin evaluating your options, consider which financial areas represent your largest concerns. For example, is being ready for retirement your most pressing priority? Do you dream of starting a business but want to make sure that your financial future isn’t put in jeopardy? Is there another goal that motivates you to strive for greater success? Do you have a financial concern that keeps you up at night?
While all CFP® professionals receive training in a broad array of financial topics, understanding your own priorities ensures that you partner with a CFP® pro who can support your goals. Then, you can meet with those who work in your area and see which one best fits your needs, allowing you to select a CFP® professional who best aligns with your mindset.
Working with a CFP® Pro
Once you select a CFP® professional to partner with, it’s time to start working toward the financial future of your dreams. While many would assume that gathering financial documents to present to your CFP® professional partner is the biggest priority at the beginning (and it is important), something else is more critical to your success.
As you start working with a CFP® professional, make sure that you are always honest about your goals and personal priorities. If they are going to create a customized blueprint for financial success, they need to know what that looks like through your eyes. That way, they can identify products and solutions that let you live your best life today, tomorrow, and well into the future.
If you are ready to find a CFP® professional that can help you achieve financial freedom, begin your search at LetsMakeaPlan.org today. You can also get more information about #LetsMakeAPlan on Facebook.
This article was written in partnership with CFP Board of Standards, Inc.
What goals are part of your financial planning? Share with us in the comments below!