Hi again everyone! Welcome back to Melissa Making Cents!
Did you know that October is Financial Planning Awareness month? While I’m unsure if it has a special designation ribbon, I can tell you that many of us are made aware of our finances at the end of the month by the color of the ink on our banking statements. Regardless if you are on the red side or black side, we can all use a little brushing up.
Let me begin by saying not all financial advisors are created equal
This week I was speaking to a prospective client that was referred to me because a friend knew I could provide this person with much needed help. It wasn’t long into our conversation when I was told that there wasn’t much to work with, and she wasn’t interested in buying anything. She had made the mistake that a lot of people make when talking to financial professionals. Not all financial advisors are created equal.
You have your financial planners, registered reps, stock brokers, insurance agents, tax accountants/CPAs, bond traders, bankers, mortgage professionals, and credit lenders. I’m certain I’ve missed someone, but the point is there are A LOT of financial people out there! Each type of financial professional has qualifications they must meet because of rules and regulations. Each of us are different yet somewhat the same, and it can be confusing to figure out who to turn to for advice.
So what is a Certified Financial Planner™
Investopedia defines a CFP® as a formal recognition of expertise in the areas of financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning, and retirement. The designation is awarded to individuals who successfully complete the CFP® Board’s initial exams, then continue ongoing annual education programs to sustain their skills and certification.
If you read that and think it sounds awesome, yet stressful…. You are correct! I have two ulcers lovingly named “This” and “Sucks”, from studying for and passing the exam.
Financial Planning is not just for people with money.
The second mistake my prospect made was that financial planning is only for people that have money. Yes, I know it’s hard to plan for something you don’t have. In fact.. I’ve been there. In my experience, the people that need financial planning the most are those that are living paycheck to paycheck. It takes real planning and lots of effort to break the cycle and lift yourself up to be more financially successful. Yes, it does suck and it seems impossible at times, but it is possible.
I’m glad you are not interested in buying, because I’m not interested in selling
As a financial planner, I love hearing people tell me they are “not interested in buying whatever it is you are selling”. Truth be told, there is really nothing to sell. Ok… maybe that isn’t completely true. Intrigued? You should be!
I am selling something….. it has two thumbs and is completely AWESOME! That’s right! It’s me!! And let’s face it, I’m basically the James Bond of the financial world...complete with a pen that’s also a flashlight. Yeah Buddy! Impressed? You should be! In fact you can visit my Client Service Experience page to see all the ways I can help.
How financial planning can help you
The main purpose of financial planning is to set goals, and figure out a way to achieve them. It may be paying off debt, funding a college education, creating and maintaining a monthly budget, saving for retirement, or even making a plan to make sure the people you love are well taken care of in the future. Financial planning really is for everyone. It just happens on different levels.
As a CFP®, I enjoy getting to know my clients. Together we can set goals to work towards, and develop a plan for making it happen. While talking with the prospective client, it became very clear to me that we needed to just start with a monthly spending plan. Honestly, this is my favorite place to start because most of us don’t realize where our money goes each month. Little things add up!
Make a financial plan to make the next decade better than the last
Believe it or not we have less than 3 months left in our current decade! Now is a great time to take a personal inventory, and figure out what you would like to change. Beginning in January, I will be leading a financial boot camp in my blogs. We will start at the beginning, and work towards healthier money habits and crushing our financial goals. Like any boot camp, it’s not always going to be easy, but seeing the positive changes will be worth it!
Challenge yourself during this Financial Planning Awareness Month
For this month, I’d like for you to pick one goal. It could be something as easy as setting up a savings account to save for emergencies. It could also be saving money by bringing your lunch to work. Maybe even picking up a book about money. Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey have some pretty good books that are easy to follow. Regardless, let’s make a plan and make things happen.
If you feel completely lost, and just need a little guidance, let me know. Let’s make the best of Financial Planning month!
Until next time, this is Melissa Making Cents!
Melissa Anne Cox
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
College Funding and Student Loan Advisor