When to See a Financial Planner?

I was having a conversation with a friend of the firm today, and we ended up talking about people who found themselves in unfortunate situations due to a lack of financial planning.  Do you know what the most interesting take-away from that conversation was?  It was how a decision that seems innocuous (or even good) at the time can blow up into a financial mess.

Since I’m a financial planner, I get to hear a lot of “take responsibility for your actions” talk.  In all this personal responsibility chit-chat glosses over the fact that it’s unreasonable to expect the layperson to know the long-term financial consequences of a perfectly reasonable action.  For example: let’s say a person has trouble paying their bills.  They negotiate with their credit card company and have a portion of their debt forgiven.  Good for them!  Now, how could the average person be expected to know that they’ll receive a 1099-C tax form showing the forgiven debt as income?  Now, it’s not too destructive if it’s $700, but what if it’s $13,000?  Talk about sending people who tried to make the best decisions they could in a tough situation into a tailspin.

There are too many situations like this to name.  So, when is the best time to have a financial planner on your side?  Before you think you need one.  The second best time?  As soon as you realize you need one.

This entry was posted in Financial Planning. Bookmark the permalink.