Stuck for ideas on what to give? Consider something nontraditional this year that will last a lifetime and never go out of style: a visit with a financial planner.
Giving someone a financial planning consultation is a unique way to show you care, and it can help set up a loved one for a successful financial future. Newlyweds, graduates and new parents all are at the start of a new phase of their lives. A financial planning gift provides them with something that may last for decades.
Those experiencing life's transitions will also face financial challenges. Whether it's learning to budget as a couple, understanding retirement plan options at the first job after graduation or starting to think about paying for college, many important financial decisions await young people today.
You can help by putting financial planning front and center.
If you already have your own financial planner, ask about arranging and paying for a visit. If your loved one lives in another town, visit www.ineedacpa.org to search for a CPA by location within Pennsylvania. Most state CPA societies maintain a database and can provide you with a selection of names that fit your needs. You can arrange for prepayment or ask if the planner offers gift certificates.
Money and finances are among the top issues that cause marital discord. A financial planner can help strategize for a happily-ever-after financial life. A good planner will spend time talking to the couple, helping them determine their mutual financial goals. There are so many topics a financial planner can help with, including managing household expenses; reviewing assets, debts and credit reports; creating a budget; discussing goals and creating mutual goals such as buying a home; analyzing benefits; updating wills; and reviewing insurance coverage.
Once the diploma is hanging on the wall, it's tempting for new grads to overspend, racking up credit card debt and a new car loan when what they really need to be worrying about is paying down student loans and planning for retirement. A gift of financial planning can help a new graduate establish short- and long-term financial goals and develop a budget to meet those goals. A financial planner may also help the grad deal with the new challenge of filing taxes and make recommendations on how to allocate investments into 401(k) or other retirement savings vehicles.
The government estimates that a middle-income family will spend more than a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child until he or she is 17. New parents will benefit by working with a financial planner to figure out how much money they'll need to raise their child. A financial planner can help them create a savings safety net, create and stick to a budget, advise about life insurance and wills and talk about saving for college.
To find potential financial planners, here are a few tips to keep in mind during your search:
Find a financial planner who will work for a flat fee or hourly rate. This will make it easy to pay for a session and ensure that the recipient of your gift can cover a range of financial topics.
Ask prospective financial planners about their area of expertise. Do they have experience dealing with newlyweds? New graduates? New parents?
Consider including your recipient in the selection process so they are comfortable with the choice, making it more likely to lead to a long-term relationship where the financial planner can truly get to know their new clients' needs.
Many certified public accountants take specific education and training to assist clients with short- and long-term personal financial goals and have earned the personal financial specialist designation awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. This certification means an individual must meet not only the education, examination, experience and ethics requirements to maintain a CPA license, but also have demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge of financial planning, which he or she is required to maintain with ongoing continuing education.
To find a CPA in Pennsylvania by location or area of expertise, visit www.ineedacpa.org.
For more information about Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), visit www.ineedacpa.org.