Retiree Bob Saumur of Coon Rapids wondered how he and wife could safely spend without being broke in 15 years.
Anne Saevig of Bloomington asked about refinancing her home.
Kate Thompson, a 28-year-old in St. Paul, wanted advice on retirement planning.
All attended last year's Twin Cities Financial Planning Day, an annual free event put on by the Financial Planning Association of Minnesota since 2010. This year's event will be held Saturday in St. Paul.
The event doesn't discriminate on income. Whether an attendee has failed to plan or is wondering if $1 million is enough to retire — everyone is welcome.
Saevig liked the emphasis on educating, not selling. "The planner I talked to told me his qualifications and gave me ideas about refinancing, but he didn't pursue me about meeting again or give me his business card," she said. "He didn't even ask me to call him."
The lack of sales pressure is no accident. Financial planners volunteer their time, but they cannot pass out business cards, market materials or sell products and services at the event, said Jason Plank, a certified financial planner and the chairman of the Financial Planning Association of Minnesota.
Attendees can sit down for 20 minutes with a financial planner to ask about a specific issue. Plank said that advisers are restricted from dispensing specific tax or legal advice.
"Think of three key questions you want answered or bring a few short and long financial goals," he suggested for prospective attendees. "If you want to bring a page of documentation to help, that's good too, or a list of assets, debts and expenses."
Thompson went to the event last year because she can't afford to hire an adviser full-time, but the scientist at the University of Minnesota wanted to know if she should consider a Roth IRA to supplement her employer-sponsored retirement account. "I didn't feel like a savvy consumer, but after I talked to a planner, I took action and bought a Roth IRA on my own," she said. "I think it's a great event. I told my brother to go."
Nearly any financial topic is fair game. Debt management, budgeting, tax planning, mortgages, paying for education, retirement planning, estate planning and insurance have all been discussed. Plank has been asked should I buy or rent, what's the best mortgage, what's the best way to pay down debt, how can I manage a budget better, am I investing in the right mix, do I need a will and should I choose a Roth 401(k) instead of a regular 401(k).
In a change, two food trucks will be on the premises to sell lunch. And the Social Security Administration will be on hand to answer questions.
Sanni Brown-Adefope, a DJ at KMOJ, will deliver the keynote address from 10:15 to 10:45. One-on-one sessions begin after the keynote and run until 2 p.m. Financial workshops begin on the hour at 11, noon and 1 with topics ranging from retirement planning, financial planning for beginners, investing basics, financial planning for small businesses, investing basics and income sources in retirement.
Linda Hache of Minnetonka attended the financial planning day event in two recent years. As she closes in on retirement, she said she may hire a financial planner soon. "The event allows me to start establishing a rapport," she said.