What a great financial planner does

September 20, 2023
6 min
Thomas Kopelman

There's a lot of confusion around what a financial planner does.

Some think they just manage investments (some do).

Some think they just sell insurances (some do).

And some think they help on all things $ (some do).

Let me walk you through what a great financial planner does:


The best financial planners don't just do one thing - they help you manage your entire financial life.

I like to think of myself as a personal CFO for my clients.

The person who's there to help make sure all areas are in great shape and aligned with their goals.

For some clients we are helping mostly on cash flow, debt payoff, and foundational work.

For others, it is estate planning, tax planning, and helping them sell their business.

To help you better understand what a good financial planner specifically does, we will go through each topic of financial planning and what we look at and think about.

1. Identifying Goals

This is by far the most important part to start with. There is no way to know what to do if we do not know where we are going. We have found that very few truly know and have thought out there goals and what it takes to get there, but you have to do this.

We help our clients map out their goals, refine them, put dollars and time frames behind them, etc. It is a crucial first step to financial planning

And honestly, for the group I work with, many times their goals are not set in stone.

They have the house, the cars, the income, etc. This is where planning for flexibility to pursue what you don't even know you want down the road matters!

2. Personal Cash Flow

Great financial planning starts with nailing down your cash flow.

It does not matter how much income you make, if there is no money leftover for savings and investments, you are not going to build wealth.

To nail down your cash flow, you need to get all the important numbers. This includes:

- Your take home pay (find this number pre you doing any to your 401(k), hsa, etc. We need to make sure those are the right choices for you first).

- Your average monthly spend

- Your surplus (what is leftover after subtracting the two)

The goal is that you have around 20% or more available here to help plan for you goals. The higher the percentage, the faster you will become financially free.

If you do not have much of a surplus, then you need to focus on increasing your income, cutting costs, or both. There is so much power in increasing your income.

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