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Note: This is a post by contributor Jim Kelly.  This is timely information because I'm just exploring the possibility of dipping my toes in the water as far as working with a financial planner.  Jim and I share many of the same underlying circumstances in life, so I felt that sharing this info was timely and valuable.

This year we decided to enlist the services of a financial planner. Now, you’re probably thinking that we have to be rich to be able to afford to pay someone else to manage our money.

That’s not true.

My wife and kids and I are your average middle-class family, with a mortgage and bills, just like everyone else. In fact, a lot of people who use financial planners are in the same boat. After managing our finances ourselves for several years, here’s why we decided to go with a professional.

We can handle our own finances, but don’t have time. 

We’ve never bounced a check, we’ve never paid bills late, we have retirement accounts and college savings for the kids, we’re doing all right; but we also know that we could be doing better. Instead of keeping us afloat, our money could be working getting us ahead. But between work and kids and other obligations, we don’t have the time to really spend time on our finances.

Our financial planner does, because he has one job – to manage our money. He also has skills and tools that we don’t have, like years of experience doing nothing but managing money, and access to financial planning software for advisors.

We've got big dreams, and we want to make them real. 

In an earlier post, I talked about being realistic when setting big goals. Well, two of our big goals are being able to retire and maintain our current standard of living, and to send our kids to college without saddling them with student loan debt.

While we knew those were both realistic goals, we weren’t entirely sure how to get there. Our financial planner helped us come up with an actual plan for achieving our goals, as well as tracking our progress. Our dreams look a lot more possible now than ever before.

We have kids to plan for. 

Planning for our kids goes beyond preparing for college expenses. Neither one of us had any idea what would happen to our kids financially if, God forbid, something were to happen to the both of us. We don’t like to think about it, but the both of us dying prematurely is a possibility, and we need to be prepared. A financial adviser can take care of all that, so that our kids will be provided for.

Our investment portfolio needed an overhaul. 

As I said before, my wife and I both have retirement accounts, but there really isn’t much rhyme or reason to them. Some of the investments were things that we had chosen ourselves, others were part of our 401K offerings that we never really let go of when we rolled them over.

The truth is that our retirement plans could have been a lot more cohesive than they were. Our financial planner took a close look and helped us come up with a more efficient financial strategy.

For us, hiring a financial planner was the best thing we could have done. Does it cost money? Absolutely, but the peace of mind we get is worth the adviser’s fees. In fact we are better off financially than we were this time last year, even with his fees.

About the Author: Jim Kelly is a husband, father, and a self proclaimed finance geek. Jim is always looking to mainly read and sometime write on PF, especially on his own strategies and struggles. When Jim isn't nose deep in a blog you can find him on the softball field with his daughter or the soccer field with his son!