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Top 10 Questions People Ask Financial Planners

Top questions asked of the experts — from saving to taxes.

By Austin Payne


Published 11.2.2023


Updated 2.13.2024


Data from 2022 suggests that 35% of Americans work with a financial planner — that’s only about one-third of the population. While it’s not required that you have a planner to be successful financially, it’s an added benefit that contributes to sound decision-making and confidence in your financial decisions.

If you have access to a financial planner though, one of the storylines of your relationship with them is probably — what should I be asking about?

Here are the top 10 questions people ask their financial planners

Everyone is different and may be looking for different things from a Financial Professional. While there's no hard and fast list of questions you must ask an advisor, here are the top 10 most common questions our financial planners get at Origin:

1. Will I have enough to retire? How much should I be saving for retirement?

Saving and investing for retirement comes with a perpetual question — how much? Subsequently, savers are constantly asking themselves if they’re putting back enough money for their golden years if they’re putting it into the right accounts, the right investments, and so on.

This is a question we all ask ourselves from time to time, and the answer seems to be ever-changing as the cost of living increases. But, your financial planner can still help you come to a viable estimate of where you’ll need to aim for, and if you’re on track with that goal.

2. How can I save more money?

Personal financial situations vary greatly between individuals, but in aggregate, it’s plain to see that a lot of people are struggling with their savings. 57% of U.S. adults say they’re uncomfortable with the amount of savings they have, and 22% have no emergency savings whatsoever.

Origin planners suggest:

  • Automate your savings: One of the most effective ways to build your savings is to set it and forget it. Select an amount that you are comfortable with. It does not matter the size of the contribution, the most important thing is to do it regularly. Line up savings contributions with your pay dates and have them automatically deducted from your deposit account to your savings account. And the most important part to remember is that you should only use the savings for specific goals. If the goal is an emergency fund, then only use it if it is an actual emergency, if it is for travel, use it only to travel. The main point is to start small and repeat regularly.

  • Tie your savings to a goal: If you are going to be motivated to save you need goals for that savings. Goals can be as simple as saving for a weekend trip or saving for longer-term goals such as retirement. Studies have shown that we save more when there is a purpose and every dollar you spend or save should have intention behind it.

Origin makes creating budgets and setting saving goals easy in your Spending Dashboard.

3. How much can I spend on a house?

In normal times, the general rule of thumb of spending less than 30% of your monthly budget on housing is a pretty reliable standard. Lately, though, the average cost of home ownership has increased drastically.

  • The current nationwide median home price is $416,100, resulting in a monthly mortgage, including taxes and insurance, of about $2,683 at a 6.96% 30-year fixed rate.

  • When compared to the median U.S. household income of approximately $70,784 in 2021 ($5,898 per month before taxes and deductions), this median mortgage payment represents around 45% of most household budgets, posing challenges for many, especially single individuals with lower incomes.

This new reality has left many prospective homebuyers asking — how much can I really afford? While the answer will be different for everyone, raising this issue with your planner can help you discern a number that works for you, and a strategy to manage that mortgage over time.

4. Does my spending look ok? Too high? Too low?

Despite these weird economic times, Americans are still spending like there’s no tomorrow. Overdoing it can be detrimental to both your short and long-term financial health, so understanding your spending habits is crucial for achieving your financial goals.

By connecting your accounts to your Origin spending dashboard, you can easily keep tabs on your spending habits and trends autonomously at any time. Your financial planner can also help you analyze your spending patterns and help you find a healthy balance between enjoying your life today and saving for the future.

You can take a look at your spending in Origin here.

5. How are my investments doing? Is my portfolio ok/appropriate?

Investors have been thrown for a loop over the last few years — from market euphoria and meme stocks to a bear market, and recently something more closely resembling normalcy. After all of that, it’s understandable to feel a bit disoriented. Luckily, you can track your investments easily and holistically in Origin by connecting your investment accounts here.

If you're wondering if your portfolio allocation is appropriate, consider meeting with one of Origin's financial planners to assess your current investments and get personalized advice.

If you're new to investing, Origin Invest makes it easy to get started - you'll answer a few questions and we'll recommend a portfolio tailored to your needs. We'll even handle the rebalancing and allocation for you, meaning you can set it and forget it. Learn more about Origin Invest here.

6. How am I doing financially relative to other people in my age/income/family size group?

They say comparison is the thief of joy, but that necessitates that it must also be the giver when its results are positive. While financial wellness is far from a competition, comparison is an inevitable, natural part of our psychology, and it can actually serve as both a reference point and a source of motivation.

Your financial planner can offer insights into how your financial situation stacks up against others in your demographic, helping you set realistic goals and expectations.

7. How many credit cards should I have?

Did you know that the average American has just 3.84 credit cards? While the amount of cards you have doesn’t say much about your creditworthiness, it can certainly be an indicator of your situation.

You can reap many insights into your credit just by linking your accounts to your Origin profile and getting instant access to your credit score, outstanding balances, and personalized recommendations to improve your credit and save you money.

Your financial planner can assess your credit profile and help you determine the optimal number of credit cards to have, taking into account your financial goals and credit score. If you’re carrying credit card debt, your Origin financial planner can also assist you in navigating a strategy to escape it.

8. How do student loan repayment plans work?

Student loan repayments have resumed, and although they’ve returned with more leniency than ever, they’re also a little more complicated too.

If you have student loans, understanding your repayment options is crucial. Your financial planner can explain the various student loan repayment plans available and help you choose the one that best suits your financial situation.

9. What is equity comp and how does it work?

Roughly 43% of public companies offer equity as a form of compensation to their employees, and 35% of private enterprises follow suit. If you’re reading this, the odds that you’re either getting equity comp now or will in the future are relatively high, and it’s important to understand the ins and outs.

Equity compensation can be extremely complex, but also extremely valuable. Your financial planner can help you understand how equity comp works, including tax implications and strategies for optimizing your equity compensation.

10. How can I pay less in taxes?

A common desire of pretty much anyone is to pay less in taxes, and luckily, there are a lot of different strategies you can employ to achieve that. Your Origin financial planner can offer tax-efficient strategies, such as tax-advantaged accounts, deductions, and credits, to help you keep more of your hard-earned money.

Talk to the pros

All-in-all, financial planning is a labyrinth of details that will vary greatly from person to person, and that’s a reality that Origin planners take pride in.

Your Origin planner is equipped with all the necessary experience and information to provide valuable advice on just about any financial situation you find yourself in, no matter what questions you may have. Try Origin for one month free, then $12.99/month.