financial planner

Why work with a financial planner? Even if you have an accountant who prepares your tax returns and someone who manages your investments, there are many reasons why you should also work with a financial planner.


When your accountant prepares your tax returns, he or she is looking backward. The purpose of your tax return is to report to the government on activities that have already happened – income you already earned and expenses you already paid. The process of financial planning is about looking forward, starting where you are, and pursuing your financial goals.


As part of the information required to prepare your tax return, your accountant will learn how much you are contributing to your qualified retirement plans, such as your 401k or 403b and your IRA accounts. And he or she may point out that you can lower your tax bill by increasing your contributions to those plans. But without all the relevant information, your tax preparer really doesn’t know if increasing your contribution to your retirement plan is the best step for you. Factors such as outstanding debt beyond your mortgage, investment holdings and risk tolerance, your savings and expenses – not to mention your long-term goals should be considered. Your financial planner considers your current income tax liability but does so in conjunction with the other financial areas of your life and with your ultimate goals in mind.


Odds are your investment manager has discussed your risk tolerance with you. And he or she periodically confirms the length of time before you might need access to the funds under management. Then, your investment manager is tasked with doing their best to profitably invest your funds and have the desired cash available when needed. However, it is likely that you didn’t discuss the assets that your investment manager isn’t managing, such as current and old retirement plans and funds that you are managing yourself. Without insight into the bigger picture, your investment manager may not realize that you already have a significant amount of your portfolio in a previous employer’s stock. Or your investment manager may not realize that you have limited options in your 401k plan, making it difficult to attain your ideal portfolio allocation. A financial planner can look at your entire investment portfolio within the context of your entire financial picture. She can see where there are limitations and where there are offsetting opportunities in different areas.


Without a financial plan that outlines your long-term goals and strategies for reaching those goals, your financial professionals are forced to focus more narrowly on the short term. You’ve seen ads for tax preparers that promise the biggest refund. And you’ve heard investment managers touting impressive returns. In the absence of long-term planning, a tax preparer may feel responsible for getting you the largest refund possible this year, even if it means a less ideal situation in the following years. And an investment manager is pressured to produce big gains all the time. Without having a long-term personal financial plan, your investment portfolio may be targeting a higher return and, therefore, taking on more risk than necessary to meet your goals.

5 - small changes big picture

Rules and regulations change all the time. Factors in the economy shift over time. And your life changes every day. A financial planner helps you identify and clarify your goals and also helps you recognize factors that affect your pursuit of those goals. As the financial backdrop of your life varies over time, your planner can alert you to the specific financial areas that may be affected. These changes can include anything from tax law changes, family dynamics, and fluctuations in the economy to bigger changes like a relocation or a change in employment.

6 - head coach


Seeing the entire picture and recognizing changes allows your financial planner to coordinate the many areas of your financial life. Your financial planner will understand when a change in one area of your fiscal life will require adjustments in other areas. We have the unique perspective of seeing how all of the different aspects of your financial plan integrate with each other. We can and often do work with your attorney, accountant or investment manager to ensure that their efforts are coordinated and we have a common goal in mind.

7 - why financial plannerYOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW. 

Did you realize that whether a particular investment is held in your retirement plan or in your managed investment account could make a difference in your marginal tax bracket? It can even make a difference as to whether you are subject to an additional tax. Besides affecting how much money you have available for current lifestyle expenses, it affects how much you have left to save and invest for the future. Did you realize that decisions you make today to manage your current income taxes can affect what you’ll pay for college in 3 years? Or that they can affect your income 20+ years down the road? Or that those decisions could affect what you will pay for your health insurance 20+ years down the road?  

A well-trained, experienced financial planner integrates scores of different factors to create your financial plan. We consider near-term factors such as current compensation and investment decisions as well as future concerns like social security and retirement income planning. Your financial planner is tasked with staying abreast of changes in tax laws, economic conditions, and government policies and how they affect your pursuit of your goals.



puzzle pieces together by financial planner

Why Work With A FInancial Planner

Your accountant and investment manager each serve a purpose in your financial life.  Having a financial planner devise a strategy to pursue your financial and lifestyle objectives can allow your other financial professionals to be more effective in helping you reach your goals. 



This article is intended to be educational and thought-provoking rather than financial advice. When we work together in a financial planning engagement, we discuss your unique personal situation and your unique goals. We examine these factors and many others during our financial planning process to determine appropriate financial strategies for YOU.

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