I've been working with a fee-only financial advisor recently to be sure all my eggs are in the right nests for my future. I've been impressed with her knowledge of law, taxes, insurance, investing — all aspects of financial life. While I've covered personal finance topics as a journalist for more than 20 years, I haven't been so diligent about managing my own affairs. Yes, I've been saving for retirement all along, but I've been a set-it-and-forget-it type of investor. I was motivated to work with a CFP to become an active investor. By active, I don't mean buying and selling stocks or mutual funds frequently. My goal was to analyze my investments and needs with a professional so that I could manage them on my own, with the knowledge that I can always see her for a “check-up,” if needed.
For many people, the cost of a fee-only advisor can't fit into their budget. But free advice is on the way. Last year, J.D. wrote about Financial Planning Days where anyone can get free help from a Certified Financial Planner. Those days are back this October, thanks to the Financial Planning Association, the CFP Board of Standards, the Foundation for Financial Planning and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. These events are offered on different days in 24 cities across the country and there is no reason not to take advantage. I hope your city is on this list!