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Because I didn’t have a ton of savings or five different investment accounts, I never thought a financial planner would want to meet with me. I thought that financial planning is only for rich executives with millions of dollars to play with.
I recently learned that a financial planner advises their clients on cash flow, spending, saving, taxes, retirement, investments, estate planning, and more. They are fiduciaries, which means that they are legally and ethically obligated to give clients financial advice based on their own situation. They do not receive commissions on the financial products that you buy or stocks that you invest in.
In an effort to bounce back from student loan debt and past financial hardships, I decided to hire my own financial planner to see what they had to offer. At first, I felt embarrassed about how little money I had saved and I was terrified of showing my finances to a complete stranger. But the experience was way better than I thought it would be.
Here’s how my first meeting with a financial planner went.
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I was paired with a financial planner who shared my values
First, my financial planner Cait Howerton, MBA, AFC, CFP at Facet Wealth introduced herself to me and explained the process of getting her CFP credentials. Sharing my finances with someone is super vulnerable, so I appreciate that she took the time to lay a good foundation for our relationship.
Howerton also shared that she specializes in LGBTQ+ wealth, and that she got into this profession to help LGBTQ+ and BIPOC folks navigate capitalism in alignment with their personal values.
As a queer person who is interested in starting a family, I found it really helpful to be paired with someone who knew exactly what I was going through and had helped people through the same situation before.
We discussed my money behaviors more than we discussed my actual money
Before my appointment, I was required to upload my paystub and link my bank accounts to Facet Wealth’s communication platform. Howerton asked me a few specific questions about my cash flow, but overall, she asked me about my money behaviors.
She asked me how my parents spent money, and about my past financial history. I’ll be honest and say that if a straight cisgender white man was asking me these questions, I probably would have refused to answer.
But because Howerton is also a member of the queer community, it felt so much easier to open up and be vulnerable about my past money problems so that we can build solutions together.
My financial planner also asked me what I do for fun
I went into my first meeting thinking, “I’m so bad at money,” comparing myself to all the other millionaires financial planners probably meet with all the time. I don’t know why, but I was expecting to be scolded and told that I’m falling behind on my financial health.
To my surprise, my financial planner was just willing to meet me where I am in my relationship with money. Howerton even asked me what interests I have, and what I like to do for fun.
Because I felt so comfortable and seen by her, I was able to share that I enjoy spending my money on writing classes to improve my craft. Besides big-picture saving goals like family planning, I also shared that I’m saving up to get a really nice bike and spend more money on my physical health.
I’m excited about my financial future for the first time in a while
Talking about money can be uncomfortable, but my experience meeting with a financial planner for the first time is changing that for me. Now that I’ve shared big-picture savings goals with Howerton, I’m also more excited to share them with my friends and family.
Having someone on my team to help me manage my finances takes a lot of pressure off, and I’m excited to track my progress moving forward.