What Services Does a Financial Planner Offer?

A financial planner is more accurately defined by their designation as a certified financial planner or CFP.  A CFP is required to complete a specific course of study and pass an examination of the material.  They are also required to continue taking courses so that their finance knowledge evolves with emerging trends.

There are specific services that financial planners provide.  Keep in mind that although they can advise you in investing their focus is normally broader than investments alone.  They work with you to create a comprehensive plan to benefit you and your family, now and in the future.

Financial Health Assessment

A financial planner will review all of your income, expenses, debt, assets, liabilities, insurance, taxes, and investments.  They are able to put together a portrait of your current financial status based on how all of the components affect one another.  A planner will present their findings to you, and you’ll often learn valuable lessons about your finances as a result of issues you may have been overlooking.

Goal Setting

With your financial status in hand, a planner will begin a dialogue that affords you the opportunity to share all that you hope to accomplish with your money.  You will talk budgets, investments, college savings, retirement, and more.  Your planner will help you set goals and lay out a plan to achieve these goals.

Plan Facilitation

Your financial planner will get your plan rolling.  They’ll make suggestions for implementing the most effective budget for your needs.  They outline the steps you should take in proceeding with your plan.  Maybe you will need to create new or different checking and savings accounts.  Together, you and your planner may begin to utilizing various software programs to keep track of your finances both personal or within a small business.  Some financial planners do offer investment advice.  Your planner may coordinate the services of brokers to meet your investment needs as well.

Plan Maintenance

A good financial planner will strive to help you meet your goals by assisting in the maintenance of your plan.  He/she will keep the lines of communication open, being sure to account for life circumstances that may impact your plan’s effectiveness.

By monitoring your progress they can help you manage any financial issues that are within your control.  Likewise, they will be able to flex the strategy to combat conditions that are out of your control, such as market conditions and the economy.

Understand that great financial planners have quality advice and services to offer you that go beyond an initial consultation.  You will surely find that the benefits of building a lasting relationship with your financial advisor will help you meet your goals sooner and with better outcomes than you may have thought possible.



Will Kaplan, CFP® is the principal at Halcyon Financial Planning, a fee-only wealth management firm located in Portland, Oregon. Halcyon specializes in a goals-based approach that combines your aspirations and resources with a forward focused, proactive style of planning.

Will and I became friends through NAPFA and I asked him to write some thoughts on “What Services Does a Financial Planner Offer?” as a guest topic for this site.