What a financial planner does…and doesn’t do

by | Sep 13, 2022 | financial planning | 0 comments

Financial Planning can change your life. Finding a financial planner who “gets you” can be the difference between retiring early and living your best life today. Unfortunately, all financial planners (aka financial advisors, wealth managers, and asset managers) are not equal.

In addition to finding your Best Financial Friend Forever (your BFFF!), it’s important to understand what a financial planner even does…and doesn’t do.  We can’t tell you what every financial planner does but we can tell you what we do at Rising Financial.

A Rising Financial Planner DOES:

We meet you where you are

Without judgment. Period.


Get to know you

Not just your finances and goals, but the names of your pets and kids and what they’re into. We strive to understand your dreams and ideal life and help you build a path to get there.

We ask you what keeps you up at night – not to sell you something to “help” that, but because we truly care.


Help you set up and stick to a budget

This doesn’t mean we tell you what to cut. (See our no judgment note above.) Our work is collaborative and future-oriented. We work to help you afford your desired lifestyle today while confirming and establishing life-long habits.


Income and career planning

Some of you are already in your dream career – that’s excellent! For you, managing your income expectations over the remainder of your earning years will be key to minimizing taxes and being able to retire on your terms. We may recommend spending (or saving) strategies that can change the course of your entire career earnings.

For others, we’ll work with you as you climb your ladder (or figure out where your ladder is) and keep your long-term vision as well as your best life now in mind as we discuss the impact of different paths.

For others, you may be close to retirement or already there – yay! We’ll help you figure out what you need to live on while retired (and not just on day one – but throughout retirement since that number can change over time) and give you the framework to see exactly where the money will come from.


Make Investment recommendations

It is possible that investments are the only thing you think of when we tell you we’re “financial planners.” In reality, it’s only one of the so many topics we discuss with clients! That said, it’s an important topic.

We’ll discuss your tolerance and capacity for taking risks – ie how much should you invest and where. We’ll discuss your investment goals – how long does your money need to last? How long do you have to get there? What impact do you want to make with your holdings?

We’ll recommend the best mix for your retirement plan at work – and discuss if you should use the Roth option (if it’s available). We’ll recommend how to invest your other dollars – in a Roth IRA maybe, or maybe an after-tax brokerage account (individual, joint, or trust).

We’ll help you calculate the required distributions from your IRA or inherited accounts so you can avoid those heavy penalties (missing your RMD if you’re over 72.5 has a 50% penalty…on top of what you owe for income taxes!) Read more about RMDs here.


Net Worth Management

Not to be confused with asset (investment) management, net worth management includes everything you own and everything you owe.

We’ll help you decide if paying down your mortgage faster even makes sense – (sometimes it doesn’t make sense mathematically, but it’s important to you to have no debt, so we talk about that peace-of-mind trade-off.) We help with student loan strategies as well as savings and investing strategies. Oh, and if you want to take a trip around the world for your Fiftieth birthday, and your net worth may dip that year to pay for it, we’ll help you plan for that – and feel great spending on it!

We want to help you grow and wisely spend your Net Worth. We want your money to help you live your unique, amazing, adventurous life.


Retirement & Long-life Planning

Humans are living longer and longer. In fact, they say the first human to live until age 150 may already be alive!*

We’ll help you envision your retirement, whether that’s leaving work on your terms at age 40 (or before?!) or working until you’re 70 or beyond – and we’ll help you use your money to live that vision.

Some of you may already be retired or have inherited wealth – we’ll help you plan for a long life that lives up to your dreams!


Charitable Giving

Giving back can be one of the most rewarding parts of what we help clients do. If it’s important to you to find the time or the money to give, we want to help you do that in a strategic way that makes the most impact on your recipients and on you.

Charitable giving can happen on so many levels: from local to global impact, from using your time or money, from selecting specific holdings in your investments to the types of accounts you keep those investments in.

We want to consider the tax implication of your impact goals, and the long-term ease of wealth transfer from you to a person, or organization. We’ll help you match your giving plan with your goals without paying more than you should in taxes so you can make the biggest impact – however, and wherever you choose to give.


Tax Planning

This is everything from reviewing your withholdings on your paystub (and recommending adjustments when necessary) to Roth conversions and how to maximize your stock plans (and minimize taxes).

Tax planning is more than filing your annual taxes (and we have amazing partners who do that!) – it’s making decisions today that impact years to come. Tax professionals tend to focus on one year at a time, which makes sense since they file your taxes one year at a time (and so much can change from one year to the next!).  We want to take this kind of focus and apply it not only to the current year but for years to come. It may be counterintuitive but sometimes is worth paying more taxes this year to avoid a 10x tax bill over the next 10 years (for example). We don’t make these decisions for you but with you, and help you see the impact of anything having to do with your lifelong obligation to pay taxes – ie, tax planning.



We’ll review everything from auto, home, and umbrella to life, disability, and long-term care – we’ll even talk about professional liability.

One hole in your insurance coverage can wipe out your savings (and future earnings) and ruin an otherwise amazing financial plan. We want to make sure your coverage protects you in those what-if scenarios.

And as a reminder, we don’t sell policies. (Read more about what we don’t do below)


Estate Planning and Wealth Transfer

We’re not lawyers, but we’ll help you understand when you need a will (likely now), or trust – and what the difference between them even is!

Related, we also want to talk about your Powers of Attorney and help determine who should serve as yours. (Is it different if it were a healthcare decision or a financial one?)

If you want to leave everything to your kids, or to charity, or to your cat – we’ll help you figure out how to do that – and IF you should do that…


A Rising Financial Planner does not:

Stock pick.

We’re not looking for the next hot stock. We believe in long-term investment plans that build on regular good behaviors of both contributions and when the time comes, distributions.


Sell you anything.

We don’t sell insurance products. We don’t sell investments.

We will review all your insurance needs and can refer you to several amazing professionals to help get you any needed coverage. Those professionals likely will get paid a commission for the policy they sell you, but if you keep us in the loop of your conversations with that professional, we can help make sure you don’t get sold something you don’t need.

The investments we recommend do not pay us anything. You may pay fees to the mutual fund company, or the custodian for holding and/or trading your investments overtime. (You’re likely paying these already.)  We’ll review the fees you’re paying so you know exactly what your investments cost you, and we’ll discuss ways to achieve your investment goals while keeping these fees low.  You can read more about what fees you pay as an investor in our blog post here.


File your taxes for you.

While Amber is an Enrolled Agent and technically could file your taxes, we prefer to refer you to our trusted partners who have more experience (at least until we grow to incorporate this service into our firm). We will have tax planning conversations and review your tax return with you – as often as you’d like.


Work on an hourly basis.

We believe the value in financial planning is in the long-term relationship and building habits that last. That’s why we only offer ongoing membership plans and not hourly work. However, don’t be afraid to email or call us with your questions. You’ll never be billed separately for communication!



*Ref: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/humans-could-live-up-to-150-years-new-research-suggests/