Think you don't need a financial planner? Think again.

There are so many reasons why people believe that working with a planner isn’t right for them. Here are the most common ones, with the myths debunked and excuses exposed.

I’ve heard so many reasons why people believe that working with a planner isn’t right for them. For the most part, these objections come from either not understanding what financial planning is or avoiding responsibility for their financial situation. It’s much easier to blame others for your unhappiness than to acknowledge that you are a product of your choices, not your circumstances.

“I don’t need a planner because…”

“…I can get that information for free (I can do it myself)”

Sure, you can absolutely find information on personal finances for free with a quick search on Google or a trip to the library. But you’re not paying a financial planner for information; you’re paying for their expertise. Professional financial planners have invested their time in becoming experts on the subject and provide access to a network of other financial experts who will support you on your journey to financial freedom. The value of expertise is in the results — when you hire a planner, you know you’re going receive a quality plan and ongoing support.

If you can do it yourself, then why haven’t you already?

“…I’m too busy, my circumstances are unstable (Now is not the right time)”

I hear this one a lot: “As soon as I [finish this big project, figure out my career plan], then I’ll think about it.” At the root of this statement is a fear of facing a part of your life that makes you feel uncomfortable. One of the most significant factors in wealth accumulation is time, so by putting this off you’re actually making your goal of financial freedom more difficult to achieve in the long run.

There’s a proverb that applies here: “The best time to plant a tree is 30 years ago; the second best time is now.” It will never feel like the right time to deal with something you are avoiding, so take a deep breath and make the first step today. Your future self will thank you.

“…I don’t have enough money (I can’t afford it)”

This line of thinking usually comes from a misunderstanding about financial literacy versus investment advising or selling financial products. There are many fee-only financial planners who offer their services with no requirements on how much money you have, and fees range from a few hundred dollars for basic plans with online advisors into the thousands for more complex, face-to-face services. There’s something for everyone.

You can have what you want in life, but you can’t have it all… you must identify what is most important to you and allocate your budget accordingly. By asking yourself “How can I afford this?” instead of simply telling yourself you can’t, you’ll begin the process of aligning your spending with your values and getting more happiness out of the money you spend. When it comes to hiring a professional, remember this: good advice doesn’t cost, it pays.

“…I’ll be pressured into buying investments I don’t want, they’re only out to make money off me (I can’t trust you)”

This is a pretty negative perspective, but I can’t blame folks for feeling this way about the financial industry. There have been too many stories of greed and dishonesty that have caused the public to distrust the very people they should be able to turn to for advice and guidance about money. While these stories disappoint me, I believe that they are the exception to the rule — for every bad apple there are many more honest, trustworthy financial professionals who go to work every day excited to help their clients make smart decisions with their money.

Yes, we charge a fee for our expertise just as doctors, dentists, electricians, plumbers, photographers and other professionals do in order to make a living, and we do so because we provide value to our clients. Your planner should make the cost of working with them transparent and easy to understand, earning your respect and trust with every interaction. Never feel embarrassed or shy to ask questions about the fee, the process or the deliverable. It’s your money and you have the right to know where it’s going and what you’re getting.

Bottom line

The first step to living the life you want begins with acknowledging that you are responsible for managing your money. It might be uncomfortable — even difficult — to stand up and be accountable for your finances and ultimately your happiness, but there is no shortcut. If you do the work, you’ll receive the reward — and you’ll have your financial planner helping you every step of the way.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).

About the Author

Lisa Zamparo, CPA, CA

Lisa Zamparo, CPA, CA, is a financial planner in Toronto who helps young professionals learn how to make smart decisions with their money. Her personalized approach to financial planning helps her clients achieve their life goals by aligning their spending with their priorities. As a “Big 4″ trained Chartered Professional Accountant, Lisa believes the lessons learned from some of the best-run companies in the world can be applied to managing personal finances. She works with clients to apply these lessons and teaches them how to take control of their finances and their future.