“I really need a helping hand.” I’m a beginner and need help with budgeting and investing. What is my first step?


How to find a financial advisor if you’re new to money management

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Question: I definitely need a financial advisor. I am a beginner so I need someone who can take me by the hand and help me understand what to do and why, in terms of budget and investments. What should my first step be? I really need a hand. (Are you also looking for a financial advisor? You can use this tool to be put in touch with a financial adviser who could meet your needs.)

Answer: First, congratulations on recognizing that you need help with your finances. “We’re all beginners at the same time and it’s great that you’re asking for help,” says Certified Financial Planner Jay Zigmont, founder of Childfree Wealth. You say you definitely need a financial adviser – and that may be true – but whichever route you take, you should also educate yourself about personal finance through books, websites, etc. .

If you go the advisor route, Zigmont says it sounds like you want an advisory-only advisor, “meaning you’re paying them for their time to help you learn,” Zigmont says. Consultancy-only planners work on an hourly or project basis and their rates can range from $200 to $500 per hour or between $1,000 and $7,500 per plan. They will not manage the assets for you, but rather help you understand the many facets of your finances and where you should focus your efforts.

Danielle Miura, Certified Financial Planner at Spark Financials, says it’s important to find an advisor who is willing to be your partner on your journey and who understands your fears and values. Miura says, “Any licensed financial adviser can give you advice on your budget and investments, but are they knowledgeable enough to teach you?

Do you have a problem with your financial advisor or are you looking to hire a new one? Email [email protected]

A good first step in finding a planner is to think about the main things you want from an advisor. “Understand what you are looking for and what you need. Do you need someone to teach you how to budget or just help you set up the right budgeting tool? Do you need an advisor to be a responsible monthly budgeting partner or can you manage it alone? Determining what you need and communicating it to the advisors you interview will help you better find an advisor who will provide the services you need and have a clearer expectation of what your advisor will do,” says certified financial planner Kyle Hill of Hill-Top Financial Planning.

Are you also looking for a financial advisor? You can use this tool to be put in touch with a financial adviser who could meet your needs.

The good news is that you have plenty of options. “Start looking for advisors and remember that you can work with someone remotely if you feel comfortable doing so. A virtual relationship opens up a lot more possibilities and you’re more likely to find someone who’s the perfect match for you,” says Justin Pritchard of Approach Financial. You can find paid consultants in the directories of XY Planning Network, Garrett Planning Network, and NAPFA. “It’s also wise to review their regulatory and disciplinary history,” adds Pritchard.

One of the most important things you can do during the counselor interview process is ask questions (this guide will help you understand what to ask). “Don’t be afraid to ask questions and say I don’t understand. If they don’t take the time to help you understand something or say it’s too complicated, then you need to find someone else. Find a counselor who has the heart of a teacher. Your job is not to become an expert, but knowledgeable enough to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing,” says Hill.

Finally, have a few conversations and talk to several advisors before making any decisions. “Ask for details about their fees, their services, what to expect, and whatever else pops into your head — you’ll learn a lot during this process,” says Pritchard.

Are you also looking for a financial advisor? You can use this tool to be put in touch with a financial adviser who could meet your needs.

And advise or not, you should immediately start saving money on every paycheck if you can. “Start with 1% of your income, deposited directly into a savings account with every paycheck,” says Certified Financial Planner Ken Robinson of Practical Financial Planning. “Once you get used to it, try increasing it by 1% and repeat until you save as much as you can with the goal of saving 12% to 15% of your gross income,” says Robinson.

Do you have a problem with your financial advisor or are you looking to hire a new one? Email [email protected]

Adviser questions are edited for brevity and clarity.

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