Chapter 18. Working with Financial Planners

In This Chapter

  • Checking out your financial management options

  • Determining whether you need help from a financial planner

  • Understanding why it's hard to find good financial help

  • Searching for a stellar financial planner

  • Interviewing financial planners before you hire them

Hiring a competent and ethical financial planner or advisor to help you make and implement financial decisions can be money well spent. But if you pick a poor advisor or someone who really isn't a financial planner but a salesperson in disguise, your financial situation can get worse instead of better. So before I talk about the different types of help to hire, I discuss the options you have for directing the management of your personal finances.

Surveying Your Financial Management Options

Everyone has three basic choices for managing money: You can do nothing, you can do it yourself, or you can hire someone to help you. This section lays out these three options in more detail.

Doing nothing

The do-nothing approach has a large following (and you thought you were alone!). People who fall into this category may be leading exciting, interesting lives and are therefore too busy to attend to something as mundane as dealing with their personal finances. Or they may be leading mundane existences but are too busy fantasizing about more-appealing ways to spend their time.


But the dangers of doing nothing are many. Putting off saving for retirement or ignoring your buildup of debt ...

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