When it comes to financial planning, many people are hesitant to seek out or ask for advice because they don’t want to be judged on where they stand financially. Others want to wait until they’re in a “better position” to seek out the guidance, because they’re uncomfortable with their current standing and feel they should be in a more presentable situation. And still others think that financial planners are just for the wealthy. Finances are a scary thing to divulge and it takes a degree of vulnerability and acceptance in order to venture down the path of both sharing and receiving input. Though money may always be an uncomfortable topic, it helps to remember that Financial Planners aren’t Perfect. They’re regular people with regular families who likely have financial needs and goals that are similar to yours. Whether you’re feeling uneasy about meeting with your first financial planner or you’re years into a relationship with one, below are four items that will help you remember that financial planners are people too:

We have debt too

. This may come as a surprise– but in some cases, Financial Planners have made the conscious choice to take on debt in order to further their lives or careers. Whether it’s in the form of a mortgage, a student loan balance, or a line of credit taken out so a business can be started, many Financial Planners may have an interest accruing balance due. Debt can make sense in a variety of situations, but even when it doesn’t you shouldn’t feel bad about sharing. Holding back will only further prevent you from creating a plan of attack to conquer it.

We are your accountability coach – but chances are we have one of our own.

  Just as you’ve hired us to provide an educated, objective and unbiased review of your situation and to serve as your accountability coach along the way – we likely require the same services for ourselves. Whether it’s to bounce an idea around about a possible investment, get input on which goals make sense for us to prioritize, or to help us grow our businesses and better serve our clients, Financial Planners need accountability partners too. We are trained, educated, and passionate about helping our clients meet their goals, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t use an extra hand in reaching our own.

We don’t know it all (and you shouldn’t work with anyone who claims to).

The tax, legal and financial landscape is ever-changing. There are rules, laws and more that seem to be updated or announced on a daily basis. While a concerted effort is made to stay on top of pertinent news and developments, from time to time, we’re going to face a situation that we haven’t before.  Either a question we don’t know the answer to or a life circumstance that we have just a basic knowledge of.  At times like these, we are able to reach out to the team of trusted professionals we have built relationships with for input and guidance. We are able to either find the answer or serve as a guide  in making the connections between our clients and other professionals who may be able to better assist them in certain situations. Going into a relationship with a Financial Planner, know that they likely don’t have all of the answers. However, be sure to ask them what their strategy is for finding them when they don’t.

We’ve given up our own share of financial opportunities.

  Whether it’s losing out on the tax advantage of maxing out a 401(k) one year, not re-financing while rates were at their absolute lowest, or making a business investment (from technology to consultants) that didn’t pay off as expected,  Financial Planners have given up their own financial opportunities in lieu of others. They’ve decided down one path because it made sense with their particular plan, but in doing so may have lost out on another option or opportunity that could have provided a better return, gain, amount saved and so on. This doesn’t mean the right decision wasn’t made. It means that like you, Financial Planners have personally faced their own “either/or” financial decisions and may have given up a financial opportunity or two in order to reach their goals.  With finances, it’s hard to be an open book around your past experiences, present standing and future goals. As much as we’d all like our financial journey to resemble a ladder that leads us straight to the top, it will likely be more akin to a jungle gym with twists, turns, ups and downs along the way as life throws different events at us. Whether it’s a promotion, a new home, a sickness or health issue, or more, chances are your Financial Planner is taking a journey similar to yours. Just on a different jungle gym.