Making major financial decisions without professional help could be a mistake, according to Dave Pickett of Aetna Life Insurance & Annuity Co.

Picket says a financial planner, investment counselor or a representative from a full-service insurance firm or brokerage can help a person design a financial plan appropriate to his or her income and goals.He says most professionals work either for a fee or earn commissions for the products they sell their clients. "But," he adds, "reputable professionals are more interested in winning trust and establishing long-term relationships than in earning a quick commission."