If you’re considering hiring a financial planner, you’re probably balancing the cost of their professional services against the time you’ll save from not having to manage your own finances, as well as the potential disasters you could avoid with an expert’s guidance. Here are situations when a person should seek a financial planner, and when they might not need one.

Before Retirement

When you retire, there are a number of complicated changes concerning how you pay income taxes on pension income, IRAs

, Roth IRAs

 and Social Security benefits. You might also consider selling your home, cashing in other assets or buying annuities. Dealing with these issues – along with thinking about how to arrange your finances to ensure that you have enough money for the rest of your life – is a crucial process that is best done with the aid of a financial planner.

Have Money in a Low-Yield Interest Account? 

If you have large amounts of money (more than a few months’ worth of income) just lying around in your bank account, or even CDs (hopefully not in mason jars buried in the backyard), you might not even be staying ahead of inflation, especially considering how low-interest rates are these days. Consult a financial adviser who will help you get that cash into bonds, stocks

mutual funds and other higher performing investments.

You’ve Received a Valuable Asset or Sum of Money

This often occurs with inheritances of cash, properties or jewelry. Other occasions when you suddenly have more money than you are comfortable managing include after a divorce settlement, lottery win or selling a business. This could also include a sudden promotion or new job that puts your income into the $250,000 tax bracket.

After a Major Life Event

Marriage and parenthood are the two biggest examples here. Combining your finances with another person or starting to plan for the future of your new child are complex and important events that often are better financially managed by an expert.

Starting your First Full-Time Job

You’re making more than just rent and food money for the first time and want to know how to save for emergencies, plan for retirement, prepare for tax deductions and purchase life insurance. You might also need to include payments for college loans or other debts in your financial planning. Get professional advice, even if it’s a yearly session with a financial planner who charges an hourly fee instead of overseeing your finances full time.

Would You Rather Go at it Alone?

If you have an interest in investments and are comfortable reading things such as tax law, then you’re on the right track to avoiding the need for a financial planner. If you are single, don’t have kids and have a job that pays a middle class salary, your finances might be straightforward enough to not need expert assistance. Belong are a few services that can assist you in your own financial planning, allowing you to simply diversify your money.

  • E*TRADE Securities LLC

     provides tools for easy financial planning, including mutual funds, stocks, retirement and education.

  • TD Ameritrade

     is one of the top brokerage companies, providing customers with as much or as little support as they need.

  • OptionsHouse

     is a great low-cost stock trading option.