I wouldn’t dare try to replace the timing belt on my car. And I’d never cut my own hair—unless I was willing to wear a hat until my lopsided trim grew out. But financial planning … that’s another story. I am a financial planner. Helping people make smart money decisions is my passion and my career.

So why couldn’t I capably handle my family’s financial planning needs?

I’d pulled all our numbers together, but I hit a roadblock when I tried to find the right time and the right way to launch a discussion about money with my husband. I realized we needed to do what every one of my clients has been brave enough to do: Bring in a neutral, expert third party to lead the conversation and help us take action to reach our goals. (I admit I had a bit of a selfish motive, too: I hoped that working with a planner would help me better understand my clients’ experiences.)

I considered a few planners who offered services similar to mine and use the Money Quotient financial life planning process. Just as important, I wanted someone my husband and I both felt comfortable with, someone who would be able to help us translate what was on our balance sheets into our goals, dreams and visions.

Michael did all that and more. He led some deep and productive conversations about money and life priorities that helped my husband and me communicate candidly about money. Though I’ve known my husband for decades, I didn’t know something important to him: He wants to continue help our children financially after they complete college, perhaps by paying for cars or home down payments.

I also experienced the vulnerability that comes with baring your financial soul and your deepest hopes and dreams. I was surprised at how vulnerable I felt discussing my finances and future with Michael and his team. I didn’t anticipate feeling so exposed and uncertain.

Overall, however, our experience has been positive. My husband and I have been able to communicate clearly about our goals and develop a roadmap to achieve them. And that’s something—like repairing a car or cutting hair—that we could never have done on our own.