Have you ever wondered if you should seek the help of a financial advisor, or better yet, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)? Below is a list of events in one’s life that often make seeking professional advice a prudent course of action.
You’ve experienced a major life transition:
Marriage, divorce, having a child, a death in the family — these are some of the biggest reasons to seek help from a financial advisor.
If you’re about to get married, a financial advisor can help you and your spouse-to-be navigate the uncharted waters of combining finances, or discuss what to combine and what to keep separate. A financial advisor can act as an objective third party, educate the less financially savvy spouse and offer guidance when the two of you disagree.
If you’re going through a divorce, a financial advisor can help you plan for your new future and help make sure you’re on track to reach your individual financial goals. A financial advisor can also assist attorneys in understanding the current and future value of one or both spouses’ incomes and assets during the negotiation of the divorce itself.
If you’re having a baby, a financial advisor can help with cash flow planning for the additional expenses associated with having a child and assist with starting a college education fund.
If one of your family members passes away, a financial advisor can help with retitling and distributing assets. Depending on whether the family member is a parent, spouse, child or more distant relative, there may be a variety of factors to consider. In complex situations, the financial advisor, CPA and estate attorney may work together to handle various aspects of settling the estate.
You’re nearing retirement:
A large percentage of our clients come to us in their 50s or early 60s, as retirement is starting to feel like it’s “just around the corner”. A financial advisor can help you figure out if you’ve saved enough to retire at your desired age, how much you can safely spend from your portfolio each year after retirement and how to allocate your investments, including how aggressive or conservative you should be.
He/she can also help you find out when to start collecting Social Security to optimize your benefits, and which retirement assets or account you should withdraw from first. These may include taxable investments, pre-tax retirement accounts or a Roth 401(k)/individual retirement account (IRA).
You’ve received a financial windfall:
If you’ve recently received an inheritance, a legal settlement or won the lottery (we all like to dream, right?!), seeking objective advice about how to invest it and how much you can safely spend each year — assuming you want the funds to last for a certain number of years or throughout your entire lifetime — is a smart move. People often make mistakes (spend too much, invest it foolishly, etc.) when handed unexpected sums of money, which they later regret. Seek advice right away, and you’ll know how much you can spend and how quickly. Most importantly, you can have peace of mind with your funds invested appropriately.
You were awarded some type of incentive compensation (stock options, restricted stock, etc.) and/or are eligible for a deferred compensation plan:
If you’ve reached a level in your career where your compensation has gotten more complicated than a salary and possible bonus, a financial advisor can help you make decisions around the options you may have, help maximize the after-tax return and coordinate with your overall financial plan and investment strategy.
You’re starting or growing a business:
A financial advisor can counsel you on keeping personal finances separate from your business affairs. If you’re self-employed and/or a sole proprietor, he/she can also help you set up a SEP IRA or Solo 401(k), or a company-sponsored retirement plan if you have employees. As your business grows, your financial advisor can help you run various scenarios and projections for the eventual sale or transition of the business so you can plan for your retirement.
You probably saw this one coming, but in all honesty, anytime can be a great time to reach out to a financial advisor. If you have questions about how to best manage various aspects of your financial life, want someone to manage your investment portfolio or just want a second opinion on what you’re managing on your own, a CFP® can be a very helpful resource — and a wise investment in your financial future.