Leveraging a Financial Planner

Confusion arises about financial planners, what they do, why should anyone contract them and if there's a demand to become a financial planner. John Grable, professor in the Master of Science in financial planning, lends his expertise and answers some of the tough questions you have on financial planning. 

When should I use a financial planner?

Financial planners provide a service that appeals to many people, regardless of age. A financial planner uses a systematic process to help clients identify financial goals and strategies that can be used to make goal achievement realistic. If someone needs help managing money, choosing investments, planning for retirement, or another issue, a financial planner can be the perfect person to turn to.

Life also gets busy. Some might prefer to delegate important financial decisions to a professional. For this reason, hiring a financial planner makes sense. If you don’t have a fair knowledge of investments and don’t enjoy reading about financial topics, hiring a financial planner may be a good idea.

What are the benefits of using a financial planner?

The best financial planners have a passion for numbers combined with a desire to help others. A financial planner acts as a "quarterback" when helping a client navigate the complex financial world. A financial planner can also save you lots of time because they can take this huge task off your plate. Financial planners also save you money in the long run. Generally speaking, the cost of hiring a financial planner is slim compared to the valuable advice they provide and the money you end up saving.

What is the difference between a financial planner and a CPA?

Both a financial planner and a CPA provide valuable services. A CPA tends to focus more closely on tax issues and tax related advice, although some accountants do provide broader services. A financial planner, on the other hand, provides advice across a client's situation and incorporates tax, investment and family situation factors into recommendations.

It is important to remember that financial planners and CPAs are in high demand, which means that services can get expensive. Those who are just starting out on their life journey, and those on a limited budget, should search for financial planners that provide services on an hourly basis. A good place to start a search is at napfa.org. NAPFA members charge fees and follow the fiduciary standard.  

Why should I become a financial planner? 

The need for financial planners is growing quickly. The market for new hires is particularly good. If someone reads this and thinks, "I love working and thinking about money, I have the mind of a finance major and I also love helping others," financial planning can be a rewarding career. Financial planners can find employment in companies such as banks, insurance companies, brokerage firms or in benefits and pension departments of corporations. Others are more entrepreneurial, choosing to establish their own practice or business.

Offered through the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, the University of Georgia’s online M.S. in Financial Planning, Housing and Consumer Economics is designed for individuals who are seeking not only to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) examination, but also a master’s degree level experience that goes beyond certificate education and explores the financial planning profession with experienced UGA faculty.