The Best Financial-Planning Options for Families Saving for Retirement and College

When you have competing priorities, you may need more assistance sorting through your financial picture.

To help you decide what kind of financial advice is best for you, see if your situation is similar to this hypothetical client:

Kiplinger's Guideto the Financial Pro Marketplace

The Petersons are both 50, with two boys: one a junior in high school and one a freshman in college. They have $500,000 in 401(k) and taxable investment accounts. Their goals include saving and paying for college and saving for retirement. They would also like to pay off several thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

As they send their kids through college and save and plan in earnest for retirement, the Petersons would benefit from more-comprehensive services. Depending on how much hand-holding and in-person consultation they want, their best options range from a hybrid robo adviser that incorporates advice from a human to a certified financial planner or full-service brokerage firm.

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Fee-Only Financial Planner

To get a broad financial plan and form a one-on-one relationship with an adviser, the couple should look for a CFP who has expertise in saving and investing strategies for retirement and college, estate planning, and ensuring appropriate insurance coverage.

Lisa Gerstner
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Lisa has spent more than15 years with Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and heads up the magazine’s annual rankings of the best banks, best rewards credit cards, and financial-services firms with the best customer service. She reports on a variety of other topics, too, from retirement to health care to money concerns for millennials. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.