The problem with most financial planning, people who need it, and the people who sell it is a mismatch of needs, wants and most importantly cash.
Lets take Basic financial planning 101: If your savings acct is paying you a lower interest rate than what your credit card is charging you then keep 6 months of expenses and then use the rest to pay off your credit card. Most people also don't keep 6 months of expenses laying around in a savings acct or a money market acct like they should. Basically paying off credit cards and not carrying a month to month balance is the most productive thing most people can do with their money starting off.
The reality: Most people know they need a financial plan like most people know they should get their teeth cleaned regularly by a dentist and a yearly physical by a physician. The problem is their eyes just gloss over when you start talking about all the terms. By the time they get around to it, then it is normally too late and they don't bother to set anything up for their kids. I mean WTF, why does Mother Teresa's daughter not have a Roth IRA. My daughter gets hers this year.
Sticking point: Which country? What about taxes?
The people in financial planning: For most financial planning with a financial planner you should be able to see them once a year pay a one hour fee and be done with it. In reality most financial planners make money off of selling you things that you don't really need for a cost that is too high. They need to make money and that's how they are going to do it.
Hard facts: The stock market has been the best long term generator of capital. That doesn't mean over a 10 year period that it was. I have 31 more years of savings and investing, which is about 18 more years than the 52 year old guy who should be sitting on fat cash without a worry if he had started out at 25 when I did. Mutual funds suck, Index funds outperform the majority of them with lower fees. If you don't understand the mutual fund fee structure in 5 minutes, then don't invest in it. Life insurance is a gamble and don't buy term. I'm not a big fan of Insurance yet because I'm young. In 10 years, I will be a bigger fan of insurance.
Dealing with debt: Most people who really should have a financial planner have a lot of debt. Debt is a funny thing, because while you should take care of it, most people don't want to. Sort of like the dirty dishes in the sink that you should wash, but you can't because you have to reply to someone on forumosa. Dealing with debt in America is actually really easy, but a lot of people have this idea that it's all personal and mean, when in actuality the guy on the phone will say anything to you to get you to pay. [color=#FF0000]Also bad credit and credit collection agencies is a good thing if you have screwed up credit. Because once you pay them off, then you challenge the debt and they don't want to spend the $10 it would take to pay someone to say you did owe that money. This makes the last bad debt seem a lot older than what it really is. American Express and Visa will pay people however so don't try that with them. It only gets ugly if you settle and the company decides to play hardball about you claiming it doesn't exist on your credit report. [/color] Everything in red is shady, but is what most debt counselors really do or try to do.
In conclusion: The best time to start out is after you graduate college and get your first job. Otherwise earlier is better as far as savings. I think a lot of excess consumption would be weeded out of the system this way. Most financial planners suck as they give away the skill (financial planning) in order to sell you products that may not be in your best interest. They also probably see debt as a bad thing if they even know how to use it.
As a business: I wish you the best of luck Edgar Allen as you will need it. I'm more of an hourly fee guy in the debate as I had a friend who was a product guy and it really tore at his conscience because the best fit for the client was often the least lucrative for him. I would add a tax service and an offshore incorporating service with a Visa card for those coughAmericans*cough* that will be facing higher taxes in the future and not wanting to pay those higher taxes.