When you’re looking for ways to improve your personal finances, a financial planner can be a valuable resource. An experienced planner can help you identify your top financial goals and create a plan to reach them. But financial planners are people, and each one has a unique perspective and approach to working with their clients.

As such, not every financial planner is the right fit for every client. When you’re thinking about hiring a financial planner, it’s important to find one whose values and coaching style align with yours. It’s equally important to recognize when a planner (or firm) might not be the best fit for you.

Here are a few signs to watch for that may indicate a financial planner isn’t the right fit. 

Sign 1: Frustration With Clients

Yes, financial planners are people, and no one is perfect. But if you get the sense that a financial planner is constantly frustrated or upset with their clients, that generally indicates a larger issue. 

The whole reason that people come to financial planners is because they’re looking for help, advice, and support. So it’s not reasonable for a professional to expect their clients to have the same level of knowledge that they do. 

If your financial planner doesn’t take the time to explain things in a meaningful way, you should feel comfortable asking for clarification. And if you always feel like your advisor is annoyed or frustrated by your questions, it’s probably best to find someone else to work with.

Sign 2: Resistance to change.

We all know that life changes constantly, and that means your financial plan will likely have to change over the years. A plan designed to help you prepare for a baby will need to change once you’re ready to start investing or preparing for retirement.

A good financial planner will recognize these natural life changes and work with you to adjust and update your plan when the situation requires it. And they should be truly listening to you so they know when it’s time to start making some changes to your plan.

Sometimes you’ll gradually adapt your approach to managing your money. And in other cases, you might need to quickly make a change to address something unexpected, like a family emergency. Either way, if your financial planner just wants to stick with the original plan they made when you first started with them, it might be best to move on. 

Korinne Sugasawara

Sign 3: Fear of the Unknown  

Humans crave certainty, and financial planners are no exception to that. Most advisors want the best outcomes for their clients, which is a good thing! But sometimes that desire for good can be problematic, especially when it means that a planner won’t make changes to your plans unless they can be “certain” of the outcome.

For example, say you’re thinking about adding a few more high-risk/high-reward investments to your portfolio. You understand that there is a bigger potential for things to go wrong, but given where you are in life right now, you feel like the risk is worth it. If your planner refuses to help you make those changes because they can’t know exactly what the stock market will do, they may not be the right person to manage your investments. 

The only thing certain about the future is that it will change. We can’t always predict what will happen, but a good financial planner will help you navigate those risks instead of just waiting for a risk-free opportunity to appear.


Sign 4: Condemning Your Emotions

Huyen T. Nguyen

If you tend to get emotional when you talk about money, you’re not alone. Finances are a sensitive topic for many people, and it’s not uncommon for financial planning clients to experience strong emotions during meetings. 

Most financial planners understand this, and they develop techniques to help their clients work through those emotions in a healthy way. They have tissues in their office to handle tears, and they have a process to help diffuse tension when clients get angry. 

But some planners are just extremely uncomfortable with outwardly expressed feelings. They may shut down the conversation when their clients start getting emotional. Or they might constantly try to pull the conversation back toward the logical topics, like numbers and spreadsheets. 

This unemotional approach does work well for some clients. So if you’re a person who prefers that type of fact-focused environment, you might thrive with this type of planner. 

Sign 5: Limited Types of Financial Support

When you think about financial planning, what comes to mind? Is it all about investment advice and preparing for retirement? Those are important aspects of financial planning, but they aren’t everything. 

Unfortunately, some financial planners only want to provide certain types of support. Maybe they only want to work with wealthy investors or help clients who want a traditional approach to retirement planning. But not every financial planning client fits that profile.

You might want to start a college fund for your children or follow a FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) approach to retirement. Maybe you’re looking for support to build a budget or change careers

Choose a financial planner who will offer you the type of support and advice you need. If the person you’re working with only wants to focus on a few things, it might be better to work with someone who has a broader range of knowledge.

Finding the Right Financial Planner for Your Needs

Whether you’re looking for detailed investment advice or you just want someone to help you finally get a budget in place, a financial planner can be the answer. And there are many excellent options out there. But each one offers a slightly different perspective and approach, which means that not every planner is the right fit for every client.

When you’re choosing a financial planner, look for someone whose values align with your own. If they make you feel uncomfortable asking questions or they only offer a limited range of services that don’t really match your needs, consider finding someone else to work with. You’ll make more progress on your goals, and you’ll make it possible for that planner to find clients who are a better fit.

If you’re looking for a financial planner who focuses on providing realistic advice founded on compassion, Guiding Wealth may be the perfect fit. Whether you want to figure out how to save for a home or you’re ready to transition into retirement, we can provide you with a personalized plan and judgment-free advice. Schedule a consultation to get started.