Financial Planners. What do they actually DO? 

Here's the thing about being a financial planner -- most people don't really understand what it is I do. Some think I’m a simply give financial advice. Some think I just invest people's money. Some people think I’m a retirement or college funding specialist. The truth is, I do ALL of those things. 

What I don’t do is sell products. That’s right. No selling mutual funds or insurance or annuities. The only thing I "sell" is my advice! 

Seems simple enough, right? But there’s more to it. There are as many different financial planning business models as there are flavors of ice cream. Each has their own focus, service approach, investing style and target clients. Some work on commissions. Some are fee-only (no commission). Some planners are generalists. Some specialize in serving a certain type of client. 

When I decided to become a financial planner, I had to decide between all of those models and areas of focus. And while all of those options are valuable, I landed squarely in the specialty of serving families with college-bound kids. That means I spend much of my time helping clients with cash flow issues, college financial aid questions, college funding projects, and more than anything else, helping my clients balance the many competing priorities they face with their limited dollars. I love what I do. 

So who can I help? Regular families who all have one thing in common: they sincerely want to do what’s best for their children. Most are not wealthy enough to easily pay for all four years of college for (multiple) children AND not have that impact their retirement savings. I help them sort out their priorities and create a workable savings plan.

Finances are personal and unique. I understand that one size does not fit all. Here is what I help with: 

Focus and Clarity

That means evaluating the many options and possibilities, organizing thoughts and focusing on what really matters. You can find all the answers you ever need through Google, but most of us need help sorting through the clutter and getting specific answers that apply to our own lives. 

Living Their Values

By the time we have had a few meetings, I get a good picture of clients’ core values. Whether it's family, travel, social justice/charitable causes, education or something else, your values drive everything. It's hard to stick to a plan if it doesn't align with what you really care about. Part of my job is to reinforce that your financial decisions connect to your values.  

Professional Resources

Are you selling a home, considering a re-finance, wondering what you qualify for when purchasing a home, need a will or trust, need a good CPA to help you with your taxes? I have trusted people I can recommend.

Confidence and Peace of Mind

One of my favorite parts of working with clients is the look of relief I see on their faces when we come up with a workable plan to help them achieve their goals. When most of my clients first come to me, their biggest (sometimes unspoken) question is: are we going to be ok? Is there a path to college savings while still retiring before age 85? Should we be saving more? And if so, how much and where? I can help!

Accountability and Motivation

Once we have established our relationship and made a plan, we work together to take the steps needed to stick to it. Because the plan is a result of your core values, clients are more motivated to stay the course! The best part of my job is seeing my clients "right their ship" and we celebrate the wins, big and small. 

Real financial planning -- done the right way --- is absolutely life changing. Please reach out to me if you'd like to take the first step toward taking control of your own financial life. Let me be your trusted guide!


Disclaimer: This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. I encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Alyssa Lum, and all rights are reserved. Read the full Disclaimer.