Financial planning was once an industry that punted products, policies, and stocks. Bias was optional in those days, but your advisor's profits were not. Today's financial planner is only ethical if she's shed her bias. She guides rather than sells because your financial well-being is her priority. The trouble is that discipline is rarely fun, and having your money woes pointed out is somewhat less entertaining than a vacation in France. This means that, if your financial planner never tells you things you don't want to hear, she's probably not doing her job.

Courage and Altruism

Financial advisors need to expose risks and have the courage to point out your errors. Unless you're worthy of a Nobel Prize in Money Smarts, some of what you hear might scare you and be tough to swallow. Just as a counselor tries to show you your weaknesses without stunting your growth, however, your advisor must offer compassion, support, and solution-based leadership. The financial planning process should inspire you. How else will you be motivated to chase your dreams? Honesty, courage, and altruism can and should coexist in this relationship. Bad news should be wrapped up in a goal-driven strategy so that you leave your meeting feeling optimistic.

Money and Your Personality

You pay your advisor to make sure your choices guide you towards your financial goals. If your current lifestyle will obliterate your financial security in retirement, for example, only a shoddy professional will remain mute. That said, the truth can be terrifying, so only a shoddy advisor will leave you to stew in your terror without offering a proactive plan that soothes your anxiety.

While you build your investment strategy, your personal weaknesses will rise to the surface. The conflict between you and your planner is not only natural but desirable.  It's a sign that both of you are passionate about your financial success. Hiring a yes person is the equivalent of managing your money alone.

Zero Risk is a Myth

Of course, you want to hear that your portfolio comes without risk, but no investment does. If your advisor is promising you a risk-free stock, she's lying. Transparency is a necessity in the financial planning industry, so your advisor should adhere to industry regulations and have a strict code of client rights. Honesty is one of those rights, but it's not always pleasant to hear.

Taxes Are As Delicious as Chocolate

Investment management is probably the most interesting task in the industry, but you will need to dedicate time to areas that are less exciting. Tax planning, retirement income strategy, and debt management are critical parts of your planning. An advisor who doesn't give them focus is failing you severely. Tax planning, in particular, will entail plenty of unpleasant information. It involves your giving your money away, after all, but it's a core part of your long-term wealth.

I Don't Know

It seems counterintuitive, but uncertainty is a sign of expertise and knowledge. Any advisor who knows all things at all times is demonstrating a dire case of Dunning-Kruger effect, so if your financial planner is willing to admit uncertainty, it's an indication that she knows enough to realize how much she doesn't know. Advisors often specialize, so if yours is willing to refer you to others for niche tasks, it may be temporarily inconvenient, but it will benefit you in the long-term.

Transparency isn't everything in the financial planning sector. You should also feel comfortable your advisor's style of communication. Your relationship should fire up your ambitions, or you're less likely to transform them into realities. 


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PARIS Financial Planning provides successful women with conservative strategies to grow their wealth during accumulation/savings years to protect their wealth during their retirement years and tax-advantaged strategies to distribute their wealth during their life and upon their death. 

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12 Wealth Building Habits of Financially Savvy Women