What is a Financial Planner any way and what do they do?

Let’s start with the definition.

noun: financial planner

A person employed to manage the personal finances of clients.

“They hired a financial planner to make sure that they were doing everything required to retire comfortably and meet the family's financial needs."

A family’s financial needs include a lot of things such as; retirement planning, debt reduction planning, student loan planning whether you are setting up a college fund or need help with a student loan payment plan, estate planning, buying a house or a car, etc. A financial planner helps you and your family with their lives.

A financial planner is a professional who helps you organize your finances and projects the results of your savings and investments so you can see how well prepared you are for retirement. They also help you make decisions with your money that will help you reach your financial goals as efficiently as possible.

So, what is the difference between a financial planner and a financial advisor?

Put simply, a financial advisor refers to any professional who helps clients manage their money. A financial planner is a type of financial advisor that have certain areas of expertise, such as retirement planning, debt reduction planning or education funding planning. Financial planners may hold different certifications and licenses than other financial advisors. So, not all financial advisors are financial planners, but all financial planners are financial advisors. 

Is it worth getting a financial planner?

That's why "fee-only" advisors, like advisors at Affordable Life Plans, can be preferable. Many people wonder whether financial advisors are worth it -- what their average cost is, if the fee is reasonable, whether they should hire investment advisors or financial planners, and so on. ... But a good financial advisor/planner can do wonders for your financial life.

How much do most financial planners charge?

So, how much do financial advisors cost? It varies, but most fee-only financial planners will charge between $1,000 and $2,000 for a comprehensive financial plan. For ongoing advice, you could expect to pay a monthly retainer of a couple hundred dollars. That's for financial planners.

Affordable Life Plans is not this expensive. Depending on which plan you choose, your cost could be from $9.95 - $1,200. Most plans are around $500 but the $500 can be broken out to payments over several months. The monthly retainer range is from $9.95 - $49.95 per month which does not include the initial plan fee.

Other firms charge $1,000 to $2,000 for the initial plan fee and a month retainer of $200 per month.

Affordable Life Plans is a huge savings when compared to others. And Affordable Life Plans offers more plans that you want and need.

Call (214) 446-0073 today to see how we can help you with your wants, needs, goals!

How does a financial advisor get paid?

Financial advisors are most commonly paid by fees, directly from the client, or by commissions including both product and per-trade commission. Fees and commissions can vary in structure between different financial advisors.

Fee-only advisors charge a fee for their services to provide advice that is not influenced by product or per trade commission. The fee is based on the advisor’s financial advice or ongoing management of a client’s investments. This can be done through an agreed hourly rate, a flat fee, a retainer, or through a percentage-based fee. Percentage-based fees are typically based on a percentage of assets under management, or the total amount of money a client has given the advisor to invest.

Commission-only advisors (broker-dealers) are paid by a per trade commission or by recommending a certain fund, annuity or any other investment product by receiving a commission upfront from a portion of the money a client invests. For example, if a client has $3,000 to invest, and the advisor recommends a fund that charges a 5% commission, $150 will be paid as commission and the remaining $2,850 will be invested.

Advisors can also operate under a hybrid model of both fees and commissions known as fee-based advisors. If a financial advisor is also registered as a broker-dealer, a hybrid approach of both fees and commissions is common. A fee-based advisor may still collect a commission on some products, but also provide a client advice for a direct fee.

Do I need a financial advisor/planner?

The short answer is yes, you probably do. A financial advisor is a professional who can assist you with your finances in a number of ways. This expert can help with investing, financial planning, retirement planning, debt reduction planning, student loan planning and more. Obviously not every single person needs a financial advisor/planner but it sure will help to have one.

How to Choose a Financial Planner

Look for a financial advisor who is a financial planner. They're licensed and regulated, plus take mandatory classes on different aspects of financial planning.

Consider the planner's fee structure to give you the services that you want and need.

Can a financial planner help with debt?

YES! A financial planner can help you plan a budget and set up a debt repayment plan (make this a clickable link to the debt reduction calculator) that will accelerate how fast you can pay off your debt. They can also help you find extra money in your budget to put towards your debts and help you to pay the number 1 creditor, you, with payments into your retirement account. Peace of mind for you and your family!

Can a financial planner help with student loans?

YES! There are multiple options to handle student loan debt. Should you refinance the student loan debt? Should you get a new payment plan? Can you ask for forgiveness on your student loan debt? A consultation would be the best way to start. There are too many variables to simply discuss them here. You can go to the Affordable Life Plans Federal Student Loan Calculator (please make a clickable link to the student loan calculator) and see what might work for you but we suggest you speak with a planner to get all the information so you can make a good choice regarding what you want to accomplish. Also you should consider a plan that allows you to fund your retirement account. An advisor can help you set up that plan.

There are a lot of companies that can help you with your student loans. Very few look at your entire financial picture to come up with a good plan for you and your family. Affordable Life Plans does look at the entire picture.

What is the difference between an estate planner and a financial planner?

The financial planner is one type of financial advisor, who helps companies and individuals create a program to meet long-term financial goals. The planner might have a specialty in investments, taxes, retirement, and/or estate planning.

An estate plan goes much further than a will. Not only does it deal with the distribution of assets and legacy wishes, but it may help you and your heirs pay substantially less in taxes, fees, and court costs. Most people with assets or a family should execute a will. However, not everyone takes the time to discuss an estate plan.

How much does it cost for estate planning?

Typical costs: Having a lawyer evaluate your financial and family circumstances and prepare appropriate legal documents starts around $800-$1,800 and can run $2,000-$3,500 or more, depending on complexity, location and other circumstances. Books covering the basics of estate planning run $10-$100.

Affordable Life Plans tries to keep these estate planning costs down. Example: there are documents that you can get from Legal Zoom to help with the legal side of estate planning if choose to use them. And yes there are books that can be purchased for the basics at a very low cost. The financial advisory firm can help you plan for the future. It is not always about the best tax benefit for you. Some people go for the best tax benefit in estate planning but that is not the whole picture and finding out your goals is what a conversation with Affordable Life Plans will discover. Sometimes it is all about the taxes and sometimes it is not. We will get to your goal and what you want to do!

All in all over the long haul, it is best to have a financial advisor/planner help you with your financial goals. They will save you lots of future pain and financial problems if you address your financial picture with a financial advisor/planner today.

Call (214) 446-0073 today to see how we can help you with your wants, needs, goals!