"Working with a financial planner should be a helpful, positive experience," said financial planner Sasha Millstone, who engaged the crowd at last week's Remodeling Show. Whether it's for personal or business reasons, when you're looking for a financial planner you should interview candidates and get an idea of who you can work with because trust and communication are so important. "The same solutions are available for everyone," Millstone said. "It's your comfort level and their communications skills that are important." At your first meeting the planner should be asking a lot of questions and not dispensing advice. Once you've decided on a planner, move forward recognizing long-term strategies. Millstone discussed seven timeless investment principles, based on those promoted by the Davis Funds, one of the most successful funds over the past 50 years:

  • Accept that uncertainty is the rule, not the exception
  • Focus on what is important and knowable
  • Be patient
  • Expect periods of disappointment
  • Engage in healthy investor behavior
  • Have an investment strategy
  • Set realistic return expectations

Millstone went on to talk about retirement plan options as well as spending plans -- not "budgets" -- and offered to send audience members her spending plan spreadsheet.