Tyler: Whatever life stage you are in right now, it likely would benefit you to touch base with a financial planner.
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Chris: This is the Penny Forward podcast, a show about blind people building bright futures, one penny at a time.
Liz: I’m Liz Botner.
Chris: And I’m Chris Peterson.
Liz: We are blind people, learning what it takes to be successful in our personal, professional, and financial lives.
Chris: When it comes to saving, investing, and planning for the future, do you ever find yourself wondering whether you should do it yourself or ask someone else for help? It’s a difficult decision to make, and we often times don’t ask someone for help until we’ve made mistakes that make us feel ashamed and embarrassed about what we’ve done. To make matters more difficult, often times, we don’t know what type of professional to hire in the first place. We invited Tyler Cook, a certified financial planner with Parable Wealth Partners in Edina Minnesota, on to the show to tell us who a financial planner is, what a financial planner does, where you might find one, when you might choose to hire one, and why a financial planner might be a professional that you’d want to employ to help you grow your wealth and make solid plans for the future. Before we get started, though, I’d like to thank Taylor’s Accessible Branding Solutions for sponsoring the show, and providing web hosting for
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Chris: Tyler, thanks for being here.
Tyler: Hey, thanks for having me, Chris. It’s an honor.
Chris: So what is a financial planner anyway?
Tyler: You know, that’s a great question to start off with. And the definition of a financial planner has really morphed over the years. Initially, I think most people would have understood a financial planner as almost a stock picker. It was someone that was doing research, and due diligence, and finding some opportunities within different stocks or funds to include in a portfolio. And it has much changed if we look at today. Now, a financial planner is more of a wholistic financial coach. So rather than focusing in solely on an investment portfolio, a true financial planner is advising clients on ‘investments, but also insurance, tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning, cash flow management, it really spans a much broader and comprehensive span than what used to be known as a financial planner.
Chris: And talk about your own personal development. How did you get into this?
Tyler: Yeah. So I was told by my grandfather at a fairly young age that if I was able to learn how the numbers of a company worked, that I could really get into any kind of industry. And I took that to heart and had a natural inclination to math and problem solving, and decided to study finance as my college major degree. And from there, after I had graduated, interviewed with several different companies here in the Twin Cities for open financial planning positions, and made my way to Thrivent Financial. It’s a fantastic career path for those that enjoy digging deep into the numbers and being very statistics and problem solving heavy, but also heart. You know, love to help people, love to be in it with the long run for folks. I mean many of my relationships span much beyond figuring out, “How much should I invest here? What was my rate of return here?” It’s really figuring out, you know, “What is truly important to you in life and how do we allow your finances to get you to a point where you’re able to live out your true meaning?
Chris: I think there are probably some listeners that might be interested in a career in finance, but I think a lot of people are just asking, “Well, why would I want a financial planner?”
Tyler: Yes. I believe that someone should partner with a financial planner because they are highly trained and educated professionals with that desire to help improve clients’ personal financial health. Much like your doctors, or attorneys, dentists, they went into a niche and received quite a bit of education and continuing education to stay up on their expertise. And I also believe a financial planner will help you really identify and develop your financial goals, while hopefully alleviating your financial concerns maybe in some parts of your financial life.
Chris: Money can be a very emotional thing for some people, and it can be scary when the stock market takes a dive, or something like that, and I’ve read that working with a financial planner can be a way to help you to keep your emotions in check. Do you think that’s true?
Tyler: One hundred percent. I joke with clients from time to time that, you know, I’m gonna take off my financial planner hat now, and I’m gonna put on my counseling or therapy hat. It is so true, in that, like I said, the relationship starts based on finances, but it quickly morphs after relations are built, and trust is built to more of an emotional relationship. And that has to do with just pursuing dreams and financial goals, but also, I mean, when the stock market is on a downturn, or heading towards a recession, it is a very emotional time for people. And to have a coach to talk you through the pros and cons of making any moves within your portfolio can really make or break your financial well-being, quite honestly.
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Chris: So, I really think that saving and investing is really important no matter what stage you are in life, and I have three categories of life in which having a savings can help. And the first one is weathering hard times. Can you talk about any examples where somebody who has been working with you for awhile has been able to weather hard times with less stress because they had a solid financial plan?
Tyler: Absolutely. So, a financial advisor can help you be well prepared for unexpected life events like job loss, medical emergencies, early passings, there are strategies and vehicles that can be implemented to lessen the hurt or magnitude of those kinds of events. So for example, having a savings account built up to three to six months of your expenses can be essential, and so impactful when, in between jobs, looking for your next roll or position.
Chris: The second category is taking advantage of rare opportunities. And I think of these as the good things that come along in life, where maybe they’re good, but they also cost money.
Tyler: Yeah. So, some of the good opportunities or good things in life, like bonuses at work, or growing a family. Buying a home. Planning for your future retirement and what that dream looks like. And so, ways to go about that are just to be intentional and wise with your cash flow. It’s doing analysis to figure out, “Will my dollar be more valuable going to this goal, or paying down my debt, or paying my savings?” So that those good events of the future can be attained.
Chris: And the final category, and I think this is kind of a neat one that’s important to a lot of us, is powerfully supporting causes that we deeply care about. This is actually, when you have it, giving some of your money away to your church, charitable organizations, and a financial planner can help you with that too, right?
Tyler: Correct. Yeah. And part of it is just building the confidence in your own financial position to allow yourself to have that hope and contentment in your situation to then give some of your excess, whether that is monetarily or your time, to organizations, churches, nonprofits that you support. And there are ways to do that in a very tax efficient manner. There are inexpensive, private family funds almost that you can create to give to, and reap some tax benefits, and have that money invested so that the giving, and the gifts that you’ve given, can then grow into larger gifts that you can share with your communities.
Chris: That’s really great. Do you happen to have any moments throughout your career as a financial planner that really stand out to you as being times where you really thought, “Man. This was entirely worth it. I’m glad I went into this.”
Tyler: Yeah. It would be those times where a client comes in to meet, maybe for the first time, and you can just see on their face the … almost despair. It would be lack of confidence. It would be fear. Anxiety. About their financial situation. And seeing the transition over, you know, sometimes it takes months, sometimes it can take years and years for that mentality to change with clients, but it absolutely brings me the most joy when we start to turn that page, and go from fear and anxiety to hope and contentment.
Chris: Yeah. I think by now, people might be kind of interested, so where would someone go if they wanted to find a financial planner?
Tyler: There’s a few different avenues that one could go to find a financial planner. I would encourage one to narrow their focus to a person that carries either a CFP or a CHFC designation, and what these stand for are “certified financial planner” and “chartered financial consultant.” These certifications verify a financial professional’s knowledge and expertise and commitment to upholding really high ethical standards. In order to hold these designations, one has to pass many, many exams, put a lot of studying and time into the knowledge behind these designations, and also completing ongoing continuing education to make sure they’re staying up on all the changes going on in the industry. But most importantly, these folks are held to a fiduciary standard, meaning they’re required to do what’s in the client’s best interest at all times, bar none, no exceptions. But then beyond that, I would say someone that you’re referred to through a family or friend is another great person to connect with. Just because there’s that baseline of trust and knowing that they’ve done great work for others. And lastly, I might add that there are some internet resources that you can go to to locate advisors in your area. One of those would be
which is a website that will actually locate those CFP’S or CHFC designations in your area. Another resource could be
they’ve got a tool called “Broker Check,” which allows you to view all of the history of financial planners that you are considering.
so it will list their education background, their years of service in the industry, even listing any disciplinary actions that they’ve had in their past. And then lastly, talk to a couple of different advisors. Some of it is just a gut check too. Who do you feel most comfortable with? There are a lot of very sensitive and close to chest information that is discussed throughout the years between an advisor and a client, and so someone that you are comfortable with, and just have that kind of gut trust with is another tip I might give.
Chris: Some people are probably wondering, “Well when should I hire a financial planner? Maybe is it too early yet? I’m not ready to think about retirement maybe, but …” But can you talk about the timing a little bit?
Tyler: Yeah. Truthfully, I would say whatever life stage you are in right now, it likely would benefit you to touch base with a financial planner. So even as soon as having some disposable income, would be a good time to start talking. The earlier you can build good financial habits, the more it will pay off for you in your life. Chris, I would honestly say, there’s never a bad time to meet with a planner.
Chris: Is it ever too late?
Tyler: It’s never too late. Nope, never too late. There are things that can be done, while maybe being late, that can still benefit your financial picture. For example, sometimes we’ll see folks come in that are a bit ashamed of the retirement savings they’ve done to this point, and they’re only five years out let’s say. Well, there’s still some things that we can do in those five years, and that people can do in a five-year time frame to really improve the situation. It might not completely solve their retirement goals, but having a realistic understanding of where you sit, so even if maybe you did get started later in life, just knowing kind of what might need to take place for you to get to your goals, what levers need to be pulled, can be a very valuable exercise.
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Chris: A lot of people are probably wondering, “Well can I afford a financial planner?” So let’s talk about how a financial planner gets paid.
Tyler: Yeah. Great question. In my experience, there are really three different ways that a financial planner gets paid. The first is somewhat on a transactional basis. So, if someone comes in and says, “Hey. I have young children in the home and a spouse, and I would like to purchase some life insurance.” Well, an advisor should be able to scan the life insurance marketplace, find you a product solution, and help you place that. In that scenario, the advisor is paid a commission from the insurance company. Secondly, a financial planner is compensated is through asset management. So, someone may come to an advisor and say, “I’ve got this pool of retirement savings. I’m no longer at this employer. I don’t have the time or energy to keep up on the market. I would love to hire a professional team to manage these funds on my behalf.” And in that scenario, you’ll typically see what’s called a management fee be associated with that account. And then finally, the third way that a financial planner would be compensated would be through fee based financial planning. This type of a process would be much more advice-based than product-based like the other two examples that we just gave. So fee-based financial planning is developing a financial plan based on your entire financial picture. So going into a lot of detail on things like your emergency reserves that you hold, your insurances, your investments, tax planning, estate planning, and providing our observations on a current snapshot of where you might sit in those areas, and then some recommendations and advice on how to pursue your goals within those areas.
Chris: If people want to contact you directly, can you? Do you want to give that information out?
Tyler: Sure. Yeah. So, the practice that I work with, we’re an independent practice of Thrivent Financial, like I mentioned. We’re Parable Wealth Partners, and we’re located in Edina Minnesota off of 494 and France Avenue, and my email I guess is
I would be honored to just have the opportunity to provide some guidance or high level advice, or go into the more in-depth planning with any of the listeners here.
Chris: It’s important for people to know that some of the licenses that Tyler was describing are issued by state. So not every financial advisor is licensed to serve clients in every state. So is your team limited to a certain area? Are you able to serve clients throughout the US?
Tyler: Yeah. Great point, Chris. Between our team, of five advisors, we are pretty well spread out with our licenses across most of the fifty states, but if we’re not licensed in that area, we would sure be happy to try to connect you with someone that is, or at least provide you with very high level, directional advice.
Chris: Awesome. Well Tyler, thanks so much for being here. It was very informative. I really appreciate it.
Tyler: Thanks so much, Chris.
Chris: If you enjoy the Penny Forward podcast, please rate, review, and share it with your friends. We’re supported by your donations. Please help us to continue producing Penny Forward by following the tip jar link in the show notes, or by visiting
Liz: The Penny forward Podcast is produced by Liz Botner and Chris Peterson. Audio editing and postproduction is provided by Byron Lee, and transcription is provided by Anne Verduin. Music was composed and performed by Andre Loui, and web hosting is provided by Taylor’s Accessibility Services.
Chris: Penny Forward is a community of blind people building bright futures, one penny at a time. Visit
to learn more about who we are, and what we do. Until next time, for all of us in the Penny Forward community, I’m Chris Peterson.
Liz: And I’m Liz Botner. Thanks for listening, and have a great week.