The reason to see a financial planner is the same reason you go to any professional for something that you're not best at doing yourself. You should make sure any planner you go to is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™Professional.
We purposely keep our prices low so price won't be the obstacle that keeps you from seeing a financial planner. I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™Professional and hence am a fiduciary for you, which means that I put your needs above those of my own.
One way is through commissions on the products they sell to you. You don't pay the commission and many times these types of planners charge you nothing for their services since the company that owns the products they are selling pays the commission to them. This looks like a good deal, but remember this financial planner is limited by the products they are authorized to sell and you may not be offered the product that is best for you, but the best for you that they have to offer.
The other is fee only. There are 2 types of fee-only. Those that charge you a percentage of the amount of money you have to invest, called AUM or assets under management. The other charges an hourly fee or a set fee for for a particular service.
Some combine some part of or all 3 ways to make money.
I charge an hourly rate of $50 and/or a set fee of $250 for a retirement plan. I do not sell products to you and make commission (not a fiduciary) nor do I have or take AUM.
This, I feel, is the best way to stay objective in the advice I give and recommendations I make.
You should invest in stocks and bonds in a proportion that is based on your age and your tolerance for risk. Most agree your investments should be diversified. In order to get that diversification in the simplest, easiest manner, you should invest in mutual funds. There are two basic mutual funds I recommend: one for stocks, the other for bonds. These are index funds that active money managers find hard to beat.
The best index fund is a mutual fund that tracks an index that tracks the market. Because it tracks the market, the costs are much lower than a mutual fund with an active manager, whose goal it is to beat the market (or the index). The cost to pay him or her or a small committee of people who actively manage a mutual fund is much higher. The active manager must overcome these higher costs and then have a greater overall return than the market. Although this can be done in one year or so, it generally fails over the long haul, which makes index funds attractive.