To a lot of people, using a financial planner is a move that feels like it belongs in the same category as hiring a personal shopper, or paying someone to come cook your meals for you: Sure, it’d be nice, but it’s also an unnecessary luxury that generally falls within the purview of the wealthy. You may not be a professional, but you can pick out your own clothes and make your own food just fine; same goes for managing your finances.
But while financial planning may have a reputation as a service used mostly by those who already have money, it’s not as exclusive or inaccessible as it seems. In recent years, the industry has undergone a bit of a transformation to bring itself more in touch with people from a wider variety of ages and backgrounds.
“You don’t have to be rich to use a financial planner,” says Kali Roberge, a financial writer and podcaster. “That might have been true in the past, but it’s not the case anymore. There are tons of planners out there who are in their twenties, thirties, and forties, and who want to work with their peers and understand your life stage and where you’re coming from.”
“It’s not about age,” agrees Alessandra Malito, a retirement reporter for MarketWatch who went through certified financial planning courses herself. “It’s about the comfort level of what you’re experiencing.” For someone about to venture into unfamiliar territory, like marriage, parenthood, buying a home, or starting a business, having a professional to guide you can make the transition feel significantly less daunting, she says.
You also don’t have to wait for life to get more complicated before turning to someone for help. The earlier you develop the foundational skills to build wealth — budgeting, maximizing your income and assets, figuring out a savings plan — the better off you’ll be, whether or not you have any big milestones on the horizon.
Eric Roberge, a certified financial planner based in Boston and founder of the financial advisory firm Beyond Your Hammock, has a simple…