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September 19, 2012 5:33 PM   Subscribe

I recently found myself in the middle class with none of the financial acumen needed to handle money on this scale. To be specific, my most complicated financial transaction to date has been handing someone two hundred dollars in cash and riding off on his bike. I'd like to talk to someone knowledgeable about money about my financial goals and be told my options for achieving those goals. Do you know such a person in New York City or the nearby suburbs? The two specific goals I have in mind right now are saving for retirement and paying off a bunch of debts. A possible complication is that all of the debt is in my parents' name, so it might be nontrivial to structure the repayment so that, from a tax perspective, it doesn't look like I've just started giving my parents lots of money every year. Also, it would be better, though not strictly necessary, if this person could speak Chinese to my parents.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
It sounds like you’re looking for a Certified Financial Planner. I don’t have any recommendations in the NYC area, but I would look for someone with those credentials if I were in your shoes.
posted by huxham at 5:40 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can give your parents $13,000 each every year or $26,000 total with no tax or fiing requirement. So, if your debt repayment is below that amount, it will be simple in that direction.
posted by metahawk at 6:01 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, pay for an hour with a Certified Financial Planner, specifically one who helps people who are just starting out. A lot of them these days focus more on college planning or retirement planning. You want the equivalent of a house organizer but for money. I believe there are such people as "money coaches" who might be more focussed your direction.

I can't help with the Chinese speaking part, as I'm on the west coast. If you feel like working with someone on the west coast, however, there are OODLES of Chinese speaking financial planners.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:24 PM on September 19, 2012


From the OP:
Sorry, metahawk, I should have realized that the scale of the debt would be relevant here. Since it matters, I should specify that we're talking about multiple mortgages and home equity loans in the U.S., plus some personal (i.e., handshake-with-a-friend) loans overseas, adding up to pretty much all my disposable income (> 100k/yr, God willing) for the next decade. I'm looking for someone to examine my finances pretty carefully and help me come up with a strategy for paying back a high six-figure debt without neglecting my own savings or setting myself up for disaster should I lose my current magical job. This may take more than an hour.
posted by mathowie at 8:51 PM on September 19, 2012


I can recommend a great financial planner in NYC if you'll MeMail me.

I recommend you interview a few planners and then choose.
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:03 PM on September 19, 2012


If you think 100k in disposable income each and every year makes you middle class, you don't need a financial planner, you need a real Accountant ASAP. That's not even close to middle class and noone making that much money(and most who don't) should trust a word a financial planner says (hint:they're salespeople. On Commission. Maybe they took a class or two at University. They didn't make it as investment bankers if they're working retail. )
posted by Yowser at 3:05 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


My CFP is a salaried employee of my credit union and does not work on commission. Might there be a credit union aimed a Chinese immigrants that could provide this service and the language/translation service?
posted by hydropsyche at 4:09 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you think 100k in disposable income each and every year makes you middle class, you don't need a financial planner, you need a real Accountant ASAP

This is incorrect. An accountant is someone whose main focus is taxes- tax loopholes, tax savings, etc. and taxes are only a portion of what you need looked at. A tax focus is great, but not if you let taxes lead your entire plan.

At your pay scale, it's definitely worth it to plunk down a couple thousand to get a complete financial plan. A fee-only financial planner should be someone who is aware of all of the threads in your web, and hopefully isn't biased towards any one of them. Personally, I prefer ones who have no other affiliation. (Some fee-only planners still charge a percentage to manage your investment portfolio, for instance. They don't make commissions but it's still in their financial interest to keep your money in an investment portfolio that they control versus, say, some other portfolio, versus buying a house, or versus lots of things.)

A financial plan will look at coordinating/balancing debt repayment, savings, retirement plans, investment account allocations, taxes, estate planning, how to title your accounts, insurance protections, and all sorts of other things you might not have thought of.

And I disagree with Yowser regarding your salary, too. $100,000 is far more than the average person makes but you're still in the middle class. The rich people strategies won't be useful to you for some time.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:47 PM on September 20, 2012


On re-reading, I see that Yowser is confusing brokers and financial planners. They are not the same thing at all. Although some brokers are also Certified Financial Planners, most are not.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:52 PM on September 20, 2012


"I should specify that we're talking about multiple mortgages and home equity loans in the U.S., plus some personal (i.e., handshake-with-a-friend) loans overseas, adding up to pretty much all my disposable income (> 100k/yr, God willing) for the next decade. I"

Whether you need a tax accountant, a fee-only certified financial planner, or other such person, I think a fundamental question must be asked. Why is this your burden? You owe your parents a million dollars and change? They could declare bankruptcy, let the courts settle what assets should be sold to pay off which creditor, and you could sponsor their life somewhere in the midwest indefinitely for _half_ that pricetag.

I guess what I'm saying is, you might be just as well served by a bankruptcy lawyer as fee only certified financial planner.
posted by pwnguin at 5:47 PM on September 22, 2012


Which is not really a decision someone on the internet can make for the OP. There are a lot of reasons people don't declare bankruptcy, some financial, some other.
posted by small_ruminant at 6:03 PM on September 22, 2012


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