It's a question as old as, well, as old as the profession. What is the value of a financial advisor?
First, it’s important to understand what a financial advisor is. A true financial advisor takes a comprehensive, holistic view of your entire financial portrait, including investments, tax planning, debt, cash flow, insurance, college planning, estate planning, and more.
These elements are essential to your financial life and should work together. You may have a great investment strategy, but if you’re not saving any money it won't matter. Or, mistakes in designating beneficiaries on your IRA or 401K accounts could materially increase taxes for your children. Focusing only on investments is not taking a holistic view of your situation.
Many people think a financial advisor is a stock picker or someone who sells investment products that may or may not be in the best interests of the client. True financial advisors perform a more transparent, holistic and client-centered role.
The vast majority of people want and need advice but don't want to pay for it. So, at what point does not spending money actually end up costing you money?
A true financial advisor can help you:
- Stick to an investment plan
- Track contributions and withdrawals from accounts, compare them with your goals and help you reach or exceed those targets.
- Adjust your investment strategy accounting for life changes such as buying a house or starting a new job.
- Determine when and how to claim Social Security benefits.
- Maximize financial or tax aid when your children go to college.
- Determine how much life insurance you should have.
- Use tax planning to determine which accounts to save in during your working years and withdraw from during retirement.
- Allocate assets across all your accounts and rebalance your portfolio regularly.
- Minimize taxes after your death by assisting with the proper beneficiaries titled on your retirement accounts.
- Review all accounts regularly to optimize your financial situation.
When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes much easier.