Financial Planner?

My wife and I just started seeing a financial planner, we met about 4 times. He came to my work and gave a seminar about keys to financial success and I told him I was interested in talking more about it.

He is going through a educational part and planning part. We just got married and bought a house 6months ago and now we are looking at getting some life insurance as well. The program is free through work.

what things should I be watching out for?
Also we just started talking about life insurance, we don't get much through work so he wants to buy some through him as well. Any general advice?

Thanks for your help.

There are some BIG things to look out for. Many so-called financial planners are simply sales people, they make their money by selling you insurance, securities etc. NOT for developing a financial plan for you (I am guessing this guy might be just that...he is likely getting paid little or nothing by your company, he gets a bunch of insurance/securities leads and your company gets to write this up as a benefit of working for them).

Find out if he is a CFP (certified financial planner), if he is he may be a bit more trustworthy. What I think you want is someone to draw up a financial plan for you, not someone to sit down and figure out ways you can eanr him commission.

Here is an ok article on the subject (I have read better but can't find them right now).

Joe Ray-
He covered the basics for retirement plans, qualified, non qualified and Roth IRA plans. We filled out a budget worksheet to find out how much we can save and invest each month. We are just starting out and don't have a lot of extra cash but I want to start now because I really haven't been too good about saving money and I want to have a solid plan. We both have 401k at work, but my wife's co. just cut the matching program so we are looking at putting her money somewhere else. He explained the financial pyramid to us and what we need to get in place before we start investing money in other places.

He hasn't made his final recommendation yet, but this is what we have been discussing: He wants us to open a money market account and start saving our emergency funds (3-6months worth), then he wants us each to open a Roth IRA and the last thing we talked about was insurance. If something were to happen to me I of course want the house and my student loans to be covered and right now we have just the 1x salary thing at work so that's not going to cut it. he wanted us to fill out a trial application for life insurance and have a nurse come to our house and see what we can get.

Basically I was just wondering what other peoples experience's with planners are or what some of you are doing as far as saving and or insurance. Just trying to learn more...

Thanks Ryan J all advice is appriciated!! On his business card it says he is a Associate Financial Representative with another guy that is a CLU managing director (whatever that means) That's what I wanted to watch out for....

Watch out if he's trying to sell you life insurance as an investment.

Here's a quick read on that:


I am so retarded this morning; I meant to paste that link into my address bar, NOT post it.

Much to much sake last night.

Thanks for all the comments..

Gordon I will email you

I just met with financial planners for the first time yesterday - overall, I thought they were great. The two guys were extremely down to earth, and seemed very approachable and knew where I was coming from. Perhaps because both are within 1 year in age of myself...

A little more detail: they work for American Express Financial and went over my situation extensively. First, we identified where I want/need to focus my attention at this point in my life (Assess Current Situation/Impact of New Home Ownership, and Accumulating Wealth in relation to this). A lot of focus seemed to center on how I should structure my 401k, and other investment vehicles (Roth IRAs) that I should consider in my situation (27, single, homeowner). At no time did I feel pressured or felt that I was in the middle of a pitch - in fact, they minimized life insurance for me at this time, and the fact that they often turn away potential clients who they feel wouldn't realize substantial value from their service.

Anyways, all the above can be handled by any decent planner, IMO - I was more concerned with getting a feel for these guys and how a potential relationship with them as my financial planners would be. I even asked questions as to how long they've been in the business and why they got into it. I was extremely impressed, and immediately placed a lot of value in the advice they gave to me.

Now, I ask you: as outsiders looking in, how would you assess the situation? I do place a lot of weight on my instincts, and I honestly feel that these guys were straight up and genuinely cared about helping me with my financial situation. Anything I should look out for, or do things sound copacetic? Any input is appreciated...