I hired a financial planner when I first got married, and it was so helpful I now manage my money completely on my own
- When my husband and I got married, we hired a financial planner to serve as a healthy mediator and keep us accountable to our goals.
- She kept us on track with a financial plan, identified "holes" in our finances (and helped us patch them), and checked in quarterly and during turbulent market conditions.
- But after a few years of her support, my husband and I decided we wanted to take over the pilot seat and manage our money ourselves. It was really a nod to how well our planner had worked on our behalf and gotten us on the right path that we felt confident to step in.
- Since then, we've successfully managed our own finances on our own, but we're leaving the door open to work with a professional again in the future.
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When my husband and I tied the knot several years ago, like many newlyweds, we wanted to find a simple way to merge our financial lives. We'd each arrived at our relationship with a unique set of financial circumstances. There were differences in our income, how much we had in savings, and even how we felt about money.
How to level the financial playing field?
Some professional help was in order.
With my background in personal finance, I felt equipped to help us make the right moves, but even so, we decided to work with a certified financial planner because we believed this person could serve as a healthy mediator and keep us accountable to our goals.
We were right.
Our planner kept us on track with a financial plan she drafted for us based on our goals. She also identified "holes" in our finances (and helped us patch them) and checked in quarterly and during turbulent market conditions. I remember receiving a phone call from her late one afternoon, after the Dow had tumbled close to 2%. "Just want to make sure you're not too worried," she said. I remember feeling surprised by her call, but also very appreciative.
She made us so confident in our money that we decided to manage it ourselves
But after a few years of her support, my husband and I decided we wanted to take over the pilot seat and manage our money ourselves. It was really a nod to how well our planner had worked on our behalf and gotten us on the right path that we felt confident to step in.
Three years in, she had helped us secure a will, life insurance, disability insurance, and automated savings to support retirement and our middle-of-the road goals like family and college planning. It was all smooth sailing. We started to wonder if we really "needed" a planner any longer. I liked the phone calls, but were they necessary?
Her work now was really more managing our portfolio and answering questions here and there - all while we continued to pay her the same fee, a percentage of our assets under management, whether we made money or not in a given year.
With the advancement of technology and onslaught of robo-advisers promising lower investment fees and similar if not better rates or return, we didn't feel we were getting the same value in working with our planner on this aspect of our financial life.
We decided to part ways and she completely understood.
We might work with a planner in the future, but for now we're running the show
My husband and I now talk about money pretty fluidly in our day-to-day. We use an automated investment platform to manage our investments and still lean on some financial advice from experts, but more from folks like tax attorneys, insurance agents, and real estate experts.
But we're leaving the door open for working with an planner again down the road when life circumstances change or we just want another check-in to be sure we are still on the right track.
In everyone's life a little (or a lot of) professional financial advice is worth investing in. And as we've learned, even if just from time to time.
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