Seeking Professional Help with Your Finances? Four Questions to Ask a Potential Financial Planner

Retired & Widowed

Judy is retired and recently widowed. She talks about living on a fixed retirement income as a widow

Seeking Professional Help with Your Finances? Four Questions to Ask a Potential Financial Planner

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When I lost my husband 4 and ½ years ago I did not seek professional help personally, or financially. I did not do this because at the time I didn't want to "share" him, I know, that may sound strange, and I can't really explain it. Not seeking financial help professionally was probably the biggest mistake I made. But not seeking help personally was just as detrimental, if not more so.   

My thoughts on seeking professional help both financially and personally are much different today than 4 and ½ years ago. Most people view the two separately, and they are very different. But taking care of yourself personally will help you to make better decisions financially.  

Provided you have a decent income yourself, or you have adequate survivor's benefit through your spouse's employer, you may be able to put off making any major financial decisions during your first year of loss. I believe you should put it off even longer if you are able to.  

When you are seeking the advice of a financial planner you are in effect asking them to run your family's finances. So there are many things to consider besides just their professional qualifications. 

There are many ways to find a solid financial planner. You should do a telephone interview with several of them and then make appointments with the ones you feel you related to the best. As I mentioned above, professional qualifications are important, but it is equally important that you feel comfortable on a personal level. 

Here are some questions to pose when interviewing a financial planner:   

  1. What are their professional qualifications?
  2. What is their area of expertise? You will want to seek the advice from someone who is used to advising people in the same stage of life as you are. If you are young and your planner specializes in helping retired people, then you are probably not going to get the best advice.
  3. How long have they been a financial planner?
  4. Explain a financial concept such as diversification. It is important that they explain it in a manner that you will actually understand. This will help you to test if their communication style works for you.  

This is just a little information to get you started. I will discuss more about working with a financial planner in my next post. Have you consulted with a financial professional? What tips would you share to help others find credible financial planning or related support?

Judy Kline

Judy is retired and recently widowed. She is a contributing author for the Retired & Widowed blog where she shares what she has learned about living on a fixed retirement income as a widow. Judy is an amateur photographer and has nine grandchildren.

  • If a financial planner recommends investments before determining what you need the money for (ie: your goals), they're either skipping a step or have an alternate agenda. Financial planning is all about structuring your finances to help you get to where

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