As financial professionals, we deal with many types of clients and each one usually has some preconceived notions about financial planning and what it should entail. Recently, I was having a conversation with Norman Barden, Financial Representative and Director of Operations for the Rome, Georgia Office of 21st Century Financial. I asked him to tell me about the types of people he interacts with and their perceptions about working with a financial professional. Norman: “My family has been in the financial industry for over 29 years and throughout that time, I’ve noticed that many people fall into one of three groups: First, the “I'll work with a financial professional when I have some money” group. Working with a financial professional is more than just getting advice about where you should be investing your money. A good financial professional will discuss with you all the various aspects of your financial situation such as protection, savings, growth, cash flow and debt. In many cases they may be able to find money that you are losing unnecessarily and restructure your current budget so you can have more money in the future for retirement, college costs and legacy planning. Since procrastination is the number one reason for lack of financial success, doesn’t it make sense to get started as soon as possible? Second, the “I make 6 figures and don't need a financial professional” group. This is the “I’m smart and know how to handle my own finances” group. They usually make over 6 figures, have investments of some sort, and think they have it all under control. The conundrum of this group is the financial success they are trying so hard to achieve eludes them because they make decisions randomly and emotionally. This leads to vulnerabilities and inconsistent outcomes. By thinking that they already have all the answers, it keeps them from really excelling. They rarely get to the next level, as they seek only to maximize one part of their portfolio. Most financially successful people do not solely rely on investment planners, they rely on financial professionals who look at their whole financial picture. After all, one third of a strategy is not enough. Lastly, the “I’m an expert in my career but not in my finances. I know what I don’t know.” This tends to be the smallest group but perhaps the wisest. They recognize that it is impossible to be an expert in all things. Ironically, this group spans the spectrum when it comes to demographics. They are made up of professionals, business owners, individuals and families from all walks of life. They understand the value of working with someone who has the financial acumen to handle all the various aspects of their financial world. By seeking out an expert, they get ahead faster and are typically more confident and secure with their decisions." So, which group do you fall into? Both Norman and I can agree, we want everyone to be financially successful, and we know the best way to do that is through a comprehensive strategy focused on the accumulation, distribution and conservation of your wealth. Smart financial decision making begins when you choose the right financial professional. One who makes financial decision making sane, sound and simple. You can contact Norman Barden at www.normanbarden.com or (706) 540-9958.