A couple of weeks ago, I dropped my business card in a fishbowl that boasted "Free Lunches!" hoping I would get lucky. Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call from Charles at Ameriprise, telling me my card had been drawn. I hadn't realized that the free lunch came with a consultation, but hey, I can endure 5 minutes of blab for some free eats. I booked the lunch for today.
My husband, 2 coworkers and I met at the restaurant at 1pm. It was held at a 4 star restaurant about 15 minutes from my house. We sat down, ordered drinks and our meals. Then Charles came in.
I wasn't really expecting too much. The first thing he did was ask what the #1 cause for house foreclosures is. I replied medical debt, which he said is correct - that and disability. (I haven't checked if this is accurate, so don't quote me.) Then he started talking about goals and how to ensure that they weren't inhibited before they could be met. He touched upon 401(k)'s, IRA's, 529b's etc, etc, etc. Then we filled out a questionnaire about our current finances (Are you saving for retirement? Do you know what age you want to retire?), paid for our food, and went on his merry way.
Nothing he said during our meeting was revolutionary, at least to me. I read a lot of personal finance books, and, while I'm no expert, feel as though I have a pretty decent handle on things. I know at this point in our lives, our focus is on debt payoff, and we're pretty much ignoring retirement, savings and investing until then. This is a temporary plan, which we will alter once all the credit card debt is gone. I think it's the right idea, but maybe a second opinion wouldn't be so bad.
So I'm considering setting up a meeting with Charles, if nothing more than to go over our current course of action and get his input. He did say that we could have a free consultation. I'm going back and forth with myself about it. Does anyone use a financail planner currently? Is it worthless to see one when you're still getting out of debt?
My husband was smarter than I was, though, and ordered a pizza for his free lunch - so we have plenty of leftovers for lunches.