Has anyone sat down with a financial planner to help set priorities

I wasn't sure which forum this should go in but I thought since managing debt is the main issue, I thought I would post here.  Let me start by saying I am an accountant. Pro - I understand the finances. Con - I overthink the finances.  I am a follower of Dave Ramsey in general except for the no credit card position. In Canada our debit card system is different from the credit card system so there are very few companies that will accept debit cards.

Following DR is simple. I am in babystep 2 so every penny should go to debt. But...

we are also cashflowing our son's university so we have put extra debt payment on hold for now.

I have so many competing priorities and want to figure out the "best" approach. So I don't need a financial planner that will and wants to sell me investments. I just want to sit down with someone and crunch through my scenario options and see if I should be doing things differently.

So back to the question in the title. Has anyone done this? Was it worth it? How did you find someone that doesn't try to get you to mortgage your house to the limit and invest?

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  • Hi, I am surprised no one answered you about this. I am not the person to, either, as I have the same question as you. I don't live in Canada, but I also don't think no credit card is the way to go either. I just joined YNAB for the 34 day challenge, and am so scared to start, I haven't even opened the app. I would like to be able to sit down with someone who could walk me through as you describe. I hope someone hears us and gives us a few tips.

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  • At least in the US (idk about Canada) Dave has endorsed providers you can lookup on his website. Problem is most financial planners make the money though commissions from selling investments so you are basically asking for their time for free.

    Like 1
  • My Credit Union offers this kind of service for free (45 min to an hour if I remember correctly).  While mildly interested I have not done it yet, so I can't comment on how useful it could be... but you could check with your bank/CU to see if they have anything.

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  • I am in the US, and my wife and I work with a fee based planner.  I have experience investing, so I don't need some one to pick investments for me and then take a percentage of assets in return.  I needed somebody with whom we could collaborate, who could help with cash flow projections in retirement, and who could fill in knowledge gaps in areas such as long term care coverage.  We pay a flat fee per year and this works well for us.  I too follow Dave Ramsey, and agree that an endorsed investment professional is not what you need (Smartvestor in DR terms).  One of their budget coaches would probably be more helpful, although it depends upon how much money they wanted to charge.  I think what you need more than anything else is just someone with some financial common sense who could talk through options with you and maybe suggest something that you hadn't considered.

    Like 1
    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    In a way, I am now, with a book, The One Page Financial Plan.by Carl Richards. I'm a couple of chapters in, it's really good.

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 9 mths ago
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      Khaki Storm just had a look at this book online.  Might get it.  Did you find it helpful (your post was when you were a few chapters in).  I also found a book called the Index Card which was by the guy who did the financial rules on an index card post. 

      When University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack interviewed Helaine Olen, an award-winning financial journalist and the author of the bestselling Pound Foolish, he made an offhand suggestion: everything you need to know about managing your money could fit on an index card. To prove his point, he grabbed a 4" x 6" card, scribbled down a list of rules, and posted a picture of the card online. The post went viral.

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      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      MXMOM 

      We are doing or working on doing all of those things on the notecard.  I can't disagree with any of them.  We can't max out Roths, though, not until I get a job.  

      I still can't figure out what is meant by save 20%.  Save until when?  For example, overall, we have more money coming into the budget than going out on any given moment.  However, in the next 12 months, I am expecting 5 planned large expenditures of more than a paycheck each, so the months when that happens we'll be spending much more than our monthly income.  Do they mean 20% into retirement/investment accounts?  Retirement is taken out from paychecks so that money never goes into or out of our budget.  

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah at this point we still have debt so we are not putting any money into either retirement or savings. Where I work we have a defined pension plan that has mandatory contributions so like you I don’t count that as part of our budget. 

      We have $300,000 of RRSP  (which is like a 401k)  room. But we are not putting anything in until the debt is paid off. Our debt free (except mortgage) is December 2024. I am trying to decide if we keep putting extra toward the debt and once that is paid, redirect the payments to retirement. But we are in our 50s so we are running out of time. My husbands work does not have any retirement plans. Hopefully his request for a raise is accepted. And then we will have to decide whether to put that toward debt  or retirement. 

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      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      MXMOM Yes, I found it super helpful! Thanks for asking! It really changed my view and priorities. 

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  • My husband and I finally got around to finding a financial advisor, we started the process late last year.  For me, the impetus was an inheritance that I didn't know what to do with.  It just sat in my money market for over a year.  Other than starting a Roth IRA, I didn't do anything with it since I didn't know what would have made more sense: paying down the mortgage, putting money in my kids' college accounts, or saving for retirement (and I didn't know how to go around doing that).

    We found a fee based advisor.  She spoke to us multiple times to determine what our views on money and saving were and to decipher our priorities, gave us some questionnaires to fill out, and told us what paperwork or numbers she'd need.  She came back with plans based on our priorities. 

    She advised us to put lump sums from the inheritance into our kids' college accounts, the amount she advised should get us up from 50% of 4 years of state school to 70%.  She told us how much we'd need to invest in those accounts on top of what we do to close the gap (we can't do that right now).  She advised me to open a 1-yr CD ladder with our emergency fund which I was keeping in money market anyway making bupkis, and move as much other money as I'm comfortable with to an online bank which offers a 2% savings account. 

    She reviewed our life insurance, gave us recommendations if we wanted to purchase any.  She went over our spending and savings habits and ran the numbers to predict how well we'd be able to do the things we want to do (retire before we're dead, pay for enough college to not burden our kids with a mortgage sized debt, maybe buy a larger house in a few years or send me to grad school).  She advised me to open a brokerage account with Vanguard and which fund I should purchase, the point of the account to make interest while keeping the money moderately fluid so we could use it for college or other purchases in the future.  She went over our retirement accounts and advised us to move the moneys out of their current funds to more conservative ones.  She advised funds that were more global than domestic.  She went over what paying extra on the mortgage would do, how a certain amount of extra to the mortgage would shave off a few more years of payments (turns out we're already doing that since we pay the mortgage every two weeks and so twice a year an extra payment is made that goes straight to principal). 

    She went over our living trust and was happy to see that we were working with a lawyer to update our wills, our medical directives and wishes, and to set up a special needs trust to protect our autistic son from either losing benefits if he gets any as an adult or from Medicaid taking any of our money that's left when he dies  to pay back the benefits he's receiving right now.  

    All in all, it cost us a couple thousand (we live in a high COL area full of very well off people).  The only thing she really pushed was YNAB, actually (she didn't even give us a referral code, though so...fee-based!).   She said that she'd even give us a free session on how YNAB works she was that thrilled with the program.   We got a time line and break down of what steps we should make.  She told us she could advise us on a monthly basis for a certain amount, take over our accounts and do all the work for us for a certain amount, or we could look her up in a few years to check back in and pay by the hour.  We had a few months to ask questions as we started moving money around.

     

    All in all, totally worth it for us and peace of mind.  I don't understand investments nor do I want to try to.  We were doing just fine the way we were going, this is just going to help.  Our advisor said that our choices already made it likely we'd be able to retire at age 67 with  a certain amount of spending.  If we'd said that we wanted to cover our kids college entirely, she would have told us what we'd need to do to make that possible.  If we'd said we wanted to retire early, she would have run the numbers to tell us what would make that most likely.  

    Find a fee-based advisor.  They don't make commissions.  So they don't have any financial reason to advise you to buy or sell certain things.  They make their money upfront, what you do with their suggestions won't give them any extra money unless you choose to allow them to manage their money (and then usually it's a flat rate or a fixed percentage), or keep them on retainer and again, that's fee-based.  Yes, it cost money, but making poor choices now could cost us tens of thousands down the line so I was ok paying it.

    Like 10
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah yes. You basically just summarized the last couple chapters of the book I referenced. Good stuff. 

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    • Technicolor Cheetah 

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  • Email YNAB support. They are good at giving unsolicited advice. Definitely find a "fee only" Financial Planner that will look at your situation without the upsell. :)  

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    • We'd be more than happy to go over things with you if you write into support, but I want to be clear that we aren't licensed financial planners. We can help you set things up in your budget, but we can't offer professional financial advice. 

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