By Pam Krueger
Why Do I Want a Financial Advisor?
It's a good question. Most of the big milestones in our lives require some real decision-making about finances. Chances are, a qualified financial advisor can be a big help to you. Here are just a few reasons how.
Focus on Asset Protection
You’ve worked hard to build up your nest egg. It may represent your retirement fund, savings for college, or money for investment opportunities. You don’t want it to diminish because of investment mistakes. If you manage your own assets, you’re more likely to make a bad choice—usually—that happens because emotions get in your way. A qualified investment advisor can offer experience and judgment to make the best possible choices that align with your personal situation and partner with you every step of the way.
Provide Expert Advice
Most people think of financial advisors as stockbrokers on Wall Street who invest other people’s (wealthy people’s) money. It’s true that financial advisors manage and invest a lot of wealth, but they also offer a host of other services, from kitchen-table household budgeting to socially responsible investing to complicated estate planning. Things have changed in the money management world, and new technologies are paving the way for everyday investors to access good, sold advice. You might be surprised to learn there are now hundreds of top-echelon investment advisors who want to help investors who are considered “mass-affluent, “ meaning consumers who typically have $250,00 in total net worth.
See the Big Picture
BYour advisor can look at your entire financial life with fresh eyes. Even if you have a strong idea of what you want your money to do for you, a good advisor can offer smart strategies to further those goals. Your advisors will typically sit down with you and talk through all aspects of your financial situation, including listening to your biggest worries to determine how you’d like your money to work for you. Taking the big picture into consideration will greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to realize your lifestyle goals.
Connect the Dots
Think about it...most aspects of your financial life relate to each other: For example, easing your tax burden may be offset by making charitable donations or setting up a simple family trust. Your financial advisor can help you keep everything in balance.
Handle Life Changes
Your financial life is dynamic and changes all the time. Death, divorce, job loss, starting or selling a business, or even the beginning of a second career can warrant getting outside assistance. Advisors, especially those with the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, can help with budgeting and short-term financial goals. Some also specialize in the areas of divorce and can provide guidance about assets, taxes, and other divorce-related financial concerns, such as real estate.
Plan for the Future
You’re close to retirement or have just retired. Your biggest worry may be how to make your savings last for 20, 30, even 40 years? Unpredictable events in the markets and in the economy can make growing wealth a challenge.
A professional investment advisor can work with multiple generations and help deal with the needs to save and invest for college, figure out what age you can really afford to stop working, and work with an aging parent’s estate plan. And while you may be concerned with your parents’ estate plan, advisors can also help with yours.
Guidance for Women
So many women today juggle a hectic work schedule, saving for children’s educations, retirement, and even caring for elderly parents. Keeping all of your balls in the air can make financial planning seem like a fantasy.
Women in particular tend to fall behind in retirement assets. Women still tend to earn less, they take time off from work to raise kids, and women are less willing to take financial risk for potential gain. There’s also the fact that women live longer than men, making a solid investment strategy critically important in later years.
Shoring Up Your Estate Plan
A financial advisor who understands that equal doesn’t always mean fair when it comes to dividing up money for heirs can really help lessen potential stresses and conflicts about who gets what after Mom and Dad are gone. It’s all too common for parents to assume the heirs will work it all out later. The fact is, money arguments can divide even the most stable families. A knowledgeable advisor can help protect assets for your beneficiaries through trusts and tax-deferred investments, and can work with tax and estate lawyers in the creation of wills.
Your qualified financial advisor can offer more than simply investing your savings in the stock market or lowering your tax bill. The key is finding the right partner who will focus growing and protecting your invested savings in sync with your personal style, specific goals, and unique needs.