Financial Advisor Profile – Jean Keener

August 31, 2009

Jean Keener is another financial planner I had the pleasure of meeting in person after the financial advisor websites list I put together a while back. As we chatted about financial planning and blogging I was reminded of the search my wife and I went on to find a financial planner right after we were married. 

Finding a Financial Planner

I was interested in the planner’s knowledge and experience while my wife’s main concern was personality and whether she felt comfortable talking about our personal finances with them.  As I spoke with Jean I realized that she would have been a good fit for us back then.  Not only does she know her stuff, she also has a warm personality that puts you at ease.

We never did run across Jean in our search since she’s from the Dallas area. Actually Keller, Texas to be exact but she did just open a satellite office in Dallas as well.  If you’re from around there you should check out Keener Financial Planning and the various financial topics she covers on her site.

Financial Topics

One of Jean’s articles I found useful for our family was the second income analysis where she goes over the financial considerations of having a stay at home spouse go back to work. She also recently shared some tips for people debating whether to hire an expert on how to choose a financial planner.

Tips for choosing a planner was actually one of the questions that I had sent Jean so I’ll leave that one off the list below. My first question was “Why did you become a financial planner” but Jean has actually already answered that one on her website.  Here is the meat of it, you can read the other details in her advisor interview:

“I became a financial planner because I wanted to be the financial planner I wasn’t able to find when I was looking for one – someone with no products to sell, just objective, competent advice and support.  I wanted to help other women and men avoid the pitfalls I experienced in getting divorced by helping them take charge of their money.  And I wanted to help people make sense of their money and achieve their goals.”

Here are the rest of my questions and Jean’s answers. Thanks to Jean for taking the time to answer the questions; hopefully they’re useful to you.

What do you think is the biggest benefit that your clients gain from working with an advisor like you?

Knowledge, objectivity, & flexibility.

What type of people, if any, should NOT hire a financial planner?

Everyone benefits from having a financial planner at certain key points in their lives … when they’re just starting their careers and developing spending and saving habits and goals that will affect them for the rest of their lives; when they’re going through a major life change like divorce, death of a spouse, birth of a child, starting a business, major career change, etc.; and when they’re planning their retirement income. 

Whether you want to work a financial planner in between those times is really a question of whether you have the time to invest in researching your options, the aptitude to analyze the information you discover, and the confidence to make a decision and move forward with it.  Financial planners help with all of those areas and many people find their financial planner to a valued partner throughout their lives.

What is the biggest challenge facing your clients today?  How do you help them with those challenges?

Balancing competing priorities is the biggest challenge.  We try to address those by getting to core values and life goals, and using that to help shape where money should be directed.

What’s the most common mistake that people make with their money and why do they make it? 

Over-spending is the most common. People make it because so many other people are making it, and they feel like it’s normal and ok.

What do you do when a client has a question you don’t know the answer to? 

If you’re doing in-depth planning work with people, this happens a lot.  Everyone’s situation is unique, and it’s very dangerous to believe you know everything. 

When I get a question that I don’t know the answer for, or that I just want to make sure I’ve considered all the options, I will research it using the various sources available to me (some publicly available web resources, some advisor subscription sources) and/or I will ask my fellow Garrett planning network members.  With over 300 Garrett members, I have access to a wealth of information and experience.

What don’t you like about the financial planning industry? 

The industry is very confusing for the public.   Marketing messages often gloss over risks and high costs or mis-lead consumers about fees and how advisors are compensated.  That’s not right, and hopefully will be changing soon.

What do you really enjoy about the financial planning industry?

I love helping people make smart decisions with their money that allow them to lead the lives they want and achieve their goals.  Hence my company motto: Plan to Live Well

What kinds of things should people expect to see on your blog in the future? 

Stay tuned for more practical personal financial planning tips.  I’m working on a series right now for teachers in Texas about their retirement plan and long-term care options.  There have been quite a few changes in this area this year.

You can follow Jean’s money tips on her blog or by following @jeankeener on Twitter.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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