Frequently Asked Questions About Financial Planning

Why should I do any financial planning?

Answer: Like most people, you have hopes, dreams, and life goals for yourself and your family. These might include buying a home or business, saving for college education for your children, taking a dream vacation, reducing taxes, and retiring comfortably. Financial planning is the process of wisely managing your finances so that you can achieve your dreams and goals — while at the same time helping you negotiate the financial barriers that inevitably arise in every stage of life. Managing your personal finances is ultimately your responsibility. However, you don’t have to do it alone. A qualified financial planner, such as a Certified Financial Planner professional, can help you make decisions that make the most of your financial resources.

How do I choose a financial planner or financial planning firm?

Answer: Start by figuring out exactly what financial services you need help with and make sure that the planner and/or firm has experience in those areas. A Certified Financial Planner professional is trained in investment management, insurance planning, education planning, estate planning as well as retirement planning, so meeting with a CFP® is a good place to start. Also, look for a planner/firm that is a Registered Investment Advisor, so that you can be sure that you are receiving impartial advice.

How are financial planners paid?

Answer: There is currently no uniform method by which financial planners are paid. A planner can be paid by a salary paid by the company for which the planner works; by fees based on an hourly rate, a flat rate, or on a percentage of your assets; by commissions paid by a third party from the products sold to you to carry out the financial planning recommendations; or by a combination of fees and commissions.

Is it important to have my financial planner and accountant work closely together on my behalf?

Answer: Yes. Taxes and good financial planning go hand in hand, so having both professionals working closely with each other can be invaluable. At WNY Asset Management, we understand that many individuals already have strong relationships with their CPA. That is why we work side-by-side with CPAs in our exclusive CPA Financial Network – a service that lets accounting professionals share our time-tested financial planning expertise with their clients. As a member of the CPA Financial Network, your CPA or accountant will have access to comprehensive financial planning and investment management services, along with plans and strategies that take into account both short-term and long-term tax implications.

What is the difference between a Registered Representative and an Investment Advisor Representative (IAR)?

Answer: Registered Representatives typically work in a commission environment and are bound to a “suitability” standard, which means they have to provide suitable advice to their client.

Investment Advisor Representatives do not earn commissions and must follow a “fiduciary” standard, the highest industry standard, which requires them to place the interests of their clients above their own.