Financial Planning is not all about Investments

I regularly meet people and hear from them that they would love to work with a financial planner, but they don’t really have any money to invest.

That’s just plain wrong.

Financial planning isn’t all about investing.

Investing is part of financial planning, but it’s not even the most important part.  The Certified Financial Plannerâ„¢ Certification Exam shows that 19% of the exam is about Investment Planning, and just 1 of the 7 major topic areas of the exam.

I believe financial planning is about helping you figure out how to make all of the pieces of your financial life work together to meet your goals.  Investing may be a part of that, but things like figuring out what you really want to do with your money and your life, that your spending is in line with your values, making sure you have enough and the right kinds of insurance, and planning for your family in the event that you’re not there to take care of them are all important parts too.

It’s our fault, really.

As an industry, we have taught you that we are here to sell you product.  Whether that product is mutual funds, managed accounts, or insurance, that’s what you’ve come to expect from us.  And for good reason.  I’m guessing that 90% of the advisers you run across would like to sell you one product or another.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

A new model is emerging in our business.  One that focuses on our client’s values.  One that asks challenging questions that require some reflection and committment from clients.  One that doesn’t start by asking you about your money and then pushes you to squeeze your life into your money.  One that starts with your life, and helps you fit your money into your life.

I think you want objective, professional counsel, and not a product salesman.  I’ve bet my future and my family’s financial well-being on it.

Am I right?