Selecting a CFP - not just the basics

How would you go about selecting a Certified Financial Planner?

My wife and I are financially successful adults, but we need guidance with the next steps, including:

  • Private equity co-investment
  • College savings for children with special needs who may or may not attend university
  • Retirement savings beyond the standard 401k and IRA options
  • The tax ramifications of all of the above

My friends are generally not at this level of planning needs, so those who have worked with a CFP have had only much more basic questions. We have known plenty of financial advisers over the years who just give bad advice or canned advice. I expect our needs will become more complex over the next decade.

How do we find a quality CFP who can help with the above? What is a reasonable price to pay for this help?

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!

yo_scottie_oh ,

Separate from my initial generic response:

Retirement savings beyond the standard 401k and IRA options

I believe the typical advice is to max out your HSA contributions and save your health care receipts but don’t reimburse yourself yet because there is no deadline for reimbursements. Instead, just treat your HSA like a double tax advantaged retirement investment account.

Beyond that, you’re looking at a regular taxable brokerage account. Look into which asset types are most tax efficient—those are the ones you’ll wanna allocate in your regular taxable brokerage account. Careful, it’s a rabbit hole and you will hit against the law of diminishing marginal returns, but it might be worth it to broad strokes put international funds in your taxable brokerage while your bonds are live in your tax advantaged accounts. There’s more info on this if you search the boglehead wiki.

EssentialNPC OP ,

Our health plan does not give us access to an HSA, so that is off the table for the foreseeable future. I will check out the wiki, so thank you for that!

yo_scottie_oh ,

I can’t speak to the specifics in your original question, but I reckon you’ll need to chat with several potential CFPs with a set of questions prepared and a somewhat rough idea of what answers you’re looking for. Hopefully when the right one crosses your path, you’ll know. Not because you already knew the answers to your questions, but more like you’ll know what not the right fit looks like. Does that make sense?

EssentialNPC OP ,

It does, and it largely mirrors what I was expecting. I had hoped that there is more concrete advice, but I suspect that we are beyond the level where advice is straightforward.

"Congratulations! You will never be able to do your own taxes again," was the advice from those coordinating our current co-investment opportunity. I suspect that may be the last direct advice we may get for a long time.

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