I am a 22-year-old and just starting my career. Do I need a financial planner and is talking to a financial advisor at the bank the same thing as talking to a financial planner?
You know, you have an enormous opportunity to “get things right” as you move forward with your life. If in this next few years you can learn and keep healthy money habits and attitudes, your future will be a lot easier than those of us that waited until our thirties (or forties, or fifties…) to pay attention.
I’d say for you the most important thing to learn is how to keep your spending and savings aligned with what you want to do in life, without spending more than you earn. The second most important thing to learn is how to invest rationally for the long-term without paying more than you should.
Some people learn at least one of those principles easily on their own, or by reading a few good books and blogs. Some people need a little more help, depending on how little they know when they start and if they learn easier when they have someone to talk to about it.
Who you talk to…well…obviously I’m biased towards my own model and the models of professionals whose only business is to give you advice. The business of the bank is to make money by selling products, so it’s sometimes hard to tell if the person you talk to at the bank has your best interests in mind, or if they’re under pressure from their manager to sell you a credit card, start a monthly TFSA/RRSP contribution into an expensive mutual fund, and get you out the door in under an hour so they can see the next person in line. From my experience, I know for certain that there are some of the former type in banking, so you could get lucky, but there’s a lot more of the latter type. It’s not because they’re bad people, it’s that they either don’t know any better, or their own financial well-being depends on pleasing their manager or their manager’s manager.
Whew. This is turning into a long answer. I’m happy to spend a half-hour or so chatting with you about your particular circumstances to see if you really should pay someone for advice or if a couple of good book recommendations might work just as well as a starting point.