I Need a ME Planner!
March 22, 2011 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Planning a major life change (leaving work to go back to school): do we need a financial planner, a college planner, a money manager, a tax expert, all of these or something else entirely?

At some point in the relatively near future, I will be leaving my job to go back to college full-time (with an eye towards professional school within the next two years). Before I do so, however, there are a LOT of questions which need to be addressed. I'm not 18... I'm close to 30, I've been working for a decade and I have a child. My life is COMPLICATED, and there are a LOT of factors which will influence and be influenced BY this change... my boyfriend, his child, my child, our house, our relationship, our respective child support arrangements, our respective debts, my retirement savings account, my prospective financial aid package, my prospective loans/grants for school, etc.

Certain decisions we make may make things better or worse for us... for instance, convincing my ex-husband to allow me to claim our kiddo as a dependent on my taxes would be advantageous during the financial aid process. I know that. However, there are a billion other choices I know NOTHING about, and I need help addressing them.

I'm NOT asking for advice on any of the individual questions I have (for they are legion). I'm asking if there's a certain type of professional adviser who would be good at looking at a situation like mine and telling me the best moves to make... financially, legally, educationally, professionally, personally and every other -ly except "gastronomically" (Tums are the only solution THERE). Any clue, MeFites?
posted by julthumbscrew to Work & Money (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I wouldn't think it's a bad idea to see an independent, certified financial planner at your age. I'm 10 years older and my DH and I need to see one. Our major life change is now a 2 year old, no estate planning, we have decided we really, really want to move to CA when my parents die, and with that major financial decision comes "how can we do it and not go broke". So absolutely I would see one and list out your goals. And especially since you have a boyfriend, instead of husband, I would go alone and bring a solo case scenario (one that you know won't change) and a together scenario--both married and single--to cover all tax/legal bases, liability, etc.

For convincing your ex husband you will need a financial planner and possibly a lawyer for that in case you need to give him a financial incentive. If you're getting a break that leads to financial assistance, I'm sure he would think 'what's in it for my/why should I?" and you may offer an upfront cost or spread over time. Just a thought.

Educationally though I would say ask those in the biz. Beyond that, it's really your own experience. And for personally, often what helps are boards like these. Just throwing out some personal questions and see what comes back. Often I get a "did you consider" perspective. For example, we have never left our home state in 40 years. Moving to the west coast will be the biggest change ever. You hear rumors of CA OMG Expensive. But the more we look the more we THINK we can do it. But asking those in the situation helps.

I wish you luck in your future and sounds great that you are going through a major life change for the better. Kudos for you in taking a positive risk.
posted by stormpooper at 1:43 PM on March 22, 2011

Response by poster: Not to threadsit, but wanted to duck back in to summarize what I want: did you ever tell someone your plans and have them shoot back, "Oh, you just need to fill out federal form ____ and make sure your ____ stays below 50%, and then claim ____ tax status before applying for ____ grant, and then spend two weeks in Zimbabwe under ____ program... and voila! Everything will be perfect!"? Basically... someone who knows the tricks of the [financial/educational/legal/etc.] trade that I do not and perhaps CANNOT know. I wanna fling money at THAT person, if only I can find them! :-)
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:49 PM on March 22, 2011

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