(NewsUSA) - Deciding to select and partner with a financial planner to bring all the pieces of your financial life together is a big step for you and your future.
But before you meet with your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ for the first time, you should familiarize yourself with the financial planning process, gather key information, have an idea about your goals and prepare a list of questions.
"You should also have an idea of what your CFP® professional is likely to discuss at the meeting," says Elaine King, CFP®.
This preparation is very important, but unfortunately, often forgotten by many new clients when meeting their financial planner for the first time.
"I have found that when some clients first meet me, they spend a lot of time over-explaining or justifying their prior financial decisions," says Charles Weeks, CFP® "In this case, don't worry. Your CFP® professional is not here to judge you -- only to help you!"
Below are some common financial mistakes that many clients make before they meet with a financial planner.
"If any of these sound familiar to you, you may want to address them before meeting with your CFP® professional the first time," Weeks adds.
- Insurance issues. Many people don't know what their insurance policies cover and don't cover. "At a minimum, you need to make sure you carry enough underlying liability insurance to protect your assets and income if you are involved in an accident or lawsuit," Weeks advises.
- Insufficient emergency funds. Weeks says he rarely sees clients with the recommended "emergency fund," three to six months' worth of nondiscretionary expenses. An emergency fund should be kept in a cash or cash equivalent, so it maintains its expected value and can be readily available when needed.
- Cash-hoarding concerns. Some cash is good, but hoarding too much cash can be detrimental. The main problem: Inflation will reduce the purchasing power of cash over time.
- Debt-management doubts. "Know the difference between good and bad debt," Weeks says. Good debt is debt we hold on appreciating assets such as a mortgage or a business loan. Bad debt is debt owed on depreciating assets, such as high-interest-rate consumer debts. Bad debts should be prioritized and paid as quickly as possible.
- Estate-planning procrastination. Your loved ones need a blueprint on dealing with the financial consequences of your passing. "By leaving family members unprepared, you leave them vulnerable to financial hardship on top of the emotional hardship they already bear," says Weeks.
If you are guilty of any of these financial pitfalls, explain them to your CFP® professional, and he or she will help you develop a sound financial plan.