LS SPRING financial planner

There’s an old adage that says failing to plan is the equivalent of planning to fail. Perhaps, the saying is no more truthful than when it comes to personal finance and investments. Professional help with money is available from a number of financial planners and advisers throughout Southern Illinois.

The role and purpose of financial advisers has changed over the years just as the types of investments and even the expectations of the public have also changed.

“We help individuals who don’t have the time, knowledge, inclination or information to manage their own money,” explains Monte Kuhnert, managing director-investments at Wells Fargo Advisors in Carbondale. “We do goal-oriented planning for our clients, working with them to determine when they want to retire, how much they want to spend once they retire and how much they want to leave when they’re gone.”

To meet those goals, financial planners and advisers use a variety of instruments.

“A financial planner has to integrate across all areas of someone’s life, including investments, tax issues, insurance, annuities, retirement savings and more,” says Scott McClatchey, a financial planner with Alliance Investment Planning Group in Carbondale. “The planner is like a quarterback who is not only a star or skillful player at one position, but also knowledgeable about other positions and has the visibility, insights, knowledge and skill to lead his team.”

Ben Bruce, financial consultant with Hilliard Lyons in Marion, adds, “A good adviser will cover everything and simply assist you in making decisions. You’re talking about several different areas of life — it is managing risk on one side and managing expectations on another.”

Selecting a professional to assist with financial planning is much like selecting a primary care physician. Experts recommend asking for referrals from friends and acquaintances, researching credentials and background and interviewing several advisers before making a selection.

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“Ultimately, it boils down to finding someone you can work with and establish trust in both directions,” McClatchey says. It’s very much a collaborative process, and the relationship is very important.”

Bruce says trust is extremely vital because, occasionally, advisers need to convince clients to do things for their portfolio’s own good.

“As a professional, you may know what’s in the client’s best interests, but they often don’t know it,” he says. “That’s difficult, but it is an integral part of communicating with the client. When you’re able to have a relationship where they trust you and you’re able to do things that may be contradictory to what they may normally do, that’s when everything works best.”

All of the advisers eschewed the notion that financial planning is only for those with considerable net worth or those who are approaching retirement.

“Anyone from someone just starting out in the workforce to those already retired can often benefit from talking to a financial planner,” McClatchey says.

No matter how young or old, and no matter how much is in the nest egg, Bruce says it’s wise to get professional assistance.

“Get someone who can help you see the big picture and work backwards from there,” he says.

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