Time Warner Cable News’ Tara Lynn Wagner looks at when you might want to start working with a financial professional and how to go about choosing one in this Money Matters report.
Wondering whether you should be working with Certified Financial Planner? Look at this way. It's not about how much money you have but rather how you feel about your finances.
“You know, ‘I feel like it's starting to get out of control for me. I feel like I can't manage it for myself. I feel like I need a second opinion. I feel like I need professional advice.’ It's time,” says Cary Carbonaro.
Carbonaro is a CFP and author “The Money Queen's Guide.” She says the top three questions that bring people to her office: Will I run out of money? How much should I be saving for retirement? And do I have the right risk level?
"Meaning am I in the right mix of stocks and bonds and what does that even mean in the first place?” she says.
The answers will depends on a number of factors.
"What you save, what you spend, what your risk tolerance is, when you want to retire," Carbonaro says.
Which is why a pro can be helpful. Not that you can't do some of it on your own. For instance, she says anyone can establish a budget.
"I always say you can do it on a napkin,” Carbonaro says. “You know you can do it yourself, anywhere. All you have to do is add and subtract. Just to see what's coming in and what's going on and what's left over."
If you do decide to work with a CFP, she says it's important to do your homework. Find someone who is board certified, check their references and make sure you are clear on how they get paid. Also don't just settle for the first pro you meet. Shop around and trust your gut.
"You want to feel comfortable,” Carbonaro says. “You want to be able to ask questions. This is your money. This is your financial future. You guys are in it together so you should trust and feel comfortable with that person."
To look through a database of Certified Financial Planners near you, visit letsmakeaplan.org.