Plot Your Course with a Financial Planner

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You talk a good game about hiring a financial planner. But do you know what you should discuss—or how often you should meet—with your adviser?

“Women tend to think differently about money than men,” says Susan John, chair of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).  

“Many women glaze over when people throw numbers around— what’s more engaging is the juicy stuff: dreams, goals, providing for the people you love.”

So it’s uber important that you choose a planner who can connect your money to your goals—not because it feels good, but because those priorities ultimately drive your investing decisions. (Need help? Check out this workbook.)

  • Got an aging parent or a special needs child who you might have to take care of later in life? You may want to invest more conservatively.

  • Planning on starting costly fertility treatments or adopting? You may need additional savings.

  • Thinking your marriage might be ending? You may want extra liquidity.

In terms of timing, plan to meet with your adviser at least twice a year: The first meeting should take place in the first quarter (i.e. now).

In the fall, set up another meeting with your adviser to start tax planning, says John. “That gives you time to figure out charitable contributions, amp up your retirement contributions, and change your tax withholdings,” she says.

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