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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 financial planning was only for wealthy executives with millions of dollars to gamble with.
I recently learned that a financial planner advises clients on cash flow, expenses, savings, taxes, retirement, investments, estate planning, etc. They are fiduciaries, which means they are legally and ethically bound to give clients financial advice based on their own circumstances. They do not receive commissions on the financial products you buy or the stocks in which you invest.
In an effort to bounce back from college debt and past financial struggles, I decided to hire my own financial planner to see what he had to offer. At first I felt embarrassed about how little money I had saved and was terrified of showing my finances to a complete stranger. But the experience was much better than I expected.
Here’s how my first meeting with a financial planner went.
I was matched 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 walked me through 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 the groundwork for our relationship.
Howerton also shared that she specializes in LGBTQ+ wealth and entered this profession to help LGBTQ+ and BIPOC people navigate capitalism in alignment with their personal values.
As a queer person interested in starting a family, I found it very helpful to be matched with someone who knew exactly what I was going through and had helped people through the same thing before.
We discussed my financial behaviors more than my real money
Before my appointment, I had to upload my payslip and link my bank accounts to the Facet Wealth communication platform. Howerton asked me a few specific questions about my cash flow, but overall she asked me about my financial behaviors.
She asked me how my parents spent the money and what my financial background was. I’m going to be honest and say that if a straight cisgender white man asked 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 for me to open up and be vulnerable about my past money issues so we could find solutions together.
My financial planner also asked me what I do for fun
I went to my first meeting thinking, “I’m so bad at money,” comparing myself to all the other millionaire financial planners that financial planners probably meet all the time. I don’t know why, but I expected to be scolded and told that I was 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 had and what I liked to do for fun.
Because I felt so comfortable and seen by her, I was able to share that I love spending my money on writing to improve my craft. Apart from overall saving goals like family planning, I also shared that I was saving to buy a really nice bike and spend more money on my physical health.
I am excited about my financial future for the first time in a long time
Talking about money can be uncomfortable, but my first meeting with a financial planner was a game-changer for me. Now that I’ve shared global 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 the pressure off, and I’m excited to track my progress going forward.