Student Debt

16
Aug
2016

Student Debt:

Finding the right financial planner

Heather Jarvis
Columbus, OH

​Financial planning professionals can help you protect yourself and your family by advising you about a full range of money matters such as insurance, investments and retirement planning, no matter where you are financially.

If you are considering getting some professional advice, start by deciding what services you are looking for.  Ask about the services the planner provides, how much those services cost, and how the advisor or planner gets paid. If you have student loan debt and you are interviewing a prospective advisor, be aware that not all financial professionals have education and experience in managing complex student loan portfolios.  If managing student debt is a priority for you, ask specifically about any prospective advisor's knowledge of student loan repayment plans and forgiveness provisions. Many financial planners know the potential earnings for attorneys and are willing to work with you during the early stage of your career.

It's smart to ask:  

● What experience do you have with people in my circumstances? Do you have a particular area of specialization (student loans, investments, retirement planning, etc.)?

What products and services do you offer?

What licenses do you hold? Are you registered with the SEC, a state, or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)?

How are you paid for your services? What is your usual hourly rate, flat fee, or commission?

Have you ever been disciplined by any government regulator or sued by a client?

Beware of unscrupulous "debt relief" companies  

Watch out for companies claiming to provide debt relief charging fees for basic transactions that you can do yourself for free.  For example, some companies charge upfront consolidation fees as high as $999 or 1 percent of the loan balance (whichever is higher); "enrollment" or "subscription" fees up to $600; or monthly account "maintenance" fees as high as $50 per month.  Student loan borrowers can consolidate for free through www.studentloans.gov (and consolidation isn't even a good strategy for many of today's law students.


More information:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA)