When to seek financial advice, Part I

DIY investing works to a point


I'm a DIY kind of woman.  If I have a reasonable chance to build or make something from scratch and save money doing so, I'm going to give it a shot.  I've designed and built a chicken coop and constructed bookshelves.  I make my own bread and pizza dough, vanilla extract, pepitas, pumpkin puree... I probably shouldn't go into food right now.

This go it alone strategy has served me well, even with my family's finances. We are steadily climbing towards our goals to achieve financial independence and have significantly more than most families in our age group.  With my goal to be able to retire in less than 5 years (that doesn't necessarily mean I will - I really love my career right now!), the decisions we make now will have a much greater impact on our goals than decisions we made 5 years ago.  What I am trying to say is, can I have a second opinion please?   


Photo courtesy of: lwmwealth.com

Photo courtesy of: lwmwealth.com

When to get a second opinion

So how do you know when to get help on your finances?  Here are a few scenarios to consider.

  1. Your financial knowledge is limited.  If you can't explain the difference between a stock and a bond, a CD and a mutual fund, then you need someone to show you the ropes of the financial world.  Sticking your head in the sand and parking money in savings or under a mattress is not a financial plan.  Neither is letting someone else make all your decisions for you because you don't understand what to do.
  2. Your finances keep you up at night.   Getting some professional advice, even if it only verifies that what you are doing has a good chance of success, should give you peace of mind.  And if you believe your finances are NOT on track, then talking with someone sooner rather than later would be a good idea before your finances get derailed.
  3. Your finances are complex.   This is where I am.  Converting from asset growth to income generation takes careful planning.  So does minimizing tax liabilities and managing multiple priorities (funding college and retirement) at the same time.  I don't know enough about these topics to feel confident that I'm making the best decisions. 

My husband and I are meeting with a financial planner tomorrow to discuss our goals.  I'll be sure to tell you how it goes and share different ways to find financial advice.

Have you sought out financial advice?  Why did you do so?  Who did you talk to?