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When you hear the term “financial advisor,” what comes to mind?
A lot of people think about an experienced expert who can give them financial advice, especially when it comes to investing.
That’s a great picture, but it’s incomplete. Financial advisors can help people with a variety of other money goals, too. The more I work with my own advisor, the more I realize how much he helps me!
What Do Financial Advisors Do?
Simply put, financial advisors help you with all types of financial planning. That means they can help you with everything from budgeting to saving for retirement.
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Financial advisors don’t come in a one-size-fits-all package. They get different degrees and certifications. They come from diverse backgrounds and offer a wide range of services. Because of that, they can do much more than explain confusing jargon and help you pick mutual funds.
A financial advisor helps you create strategies for eliminating financial risk and building wealth over the long term. They can give you a game plan that puts you on track to achieve your financial goals.
Debt can seriously complicate your finances and keep you from making progress toward your long-term goals. While you don’t need a financial advisor’s help to get yourself out of debt, your advisor can show you the benefits of being debt-free. For example, you can save for retirement, a new home, or your kid’s college.
But, before a financial advisor can help you create a comprehensive, long-term financial plan, they will encourage you to tackle your debt. They want you to stop paying for the past so you can start planning for the future.
Budgeting to Reach Financial Goals
We all need someone in our corner to remind us of the big picture and to cheer us on as we work toward our goals. A financial advisor can help you understand what actions you need to take to reach those long-term goals, whether you want to send your kids off to college, buy a new house, or pay for an adoption.
By strategically telling your money where to go, you can begin budgeting for those big goals and make your dreams a reality.
Health and Long-Term Care Planning
According to a study by Fidelity, a 65-year-old couple retiring this year can expect to pay $275,000 toward medical expenses alone during their retirement.(1) What can you do to prepare for those major expenses in that chapter of your life? An advisor can explain your options for long-term care insurance. Then you can choose a plan that’s affordable both now and in the future when you will need it the most.
Talking about end-of-life planning may seem downright depressing, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you just bought your first home or have been running your own business for 30 years, you get to choose what to do with those assets you’ve worked so hard for. Financial advisors can be a great resource in estate planning by helping you create a plan to ensure your wishes are carried out.
What does your dream retirement look like? Do you want to travel the world? Visit your grandkids? Open your own business? Volunteer at the local homeless shelter? No matter what your dream is, you need to have stable income streams to carry you through two or three decades—or more.
A financial advisor can help you not only build wealth, but also protect it for the long term. They can estimate your projected financial needs and strategize ways to stretch your retirement savings. They can advise you on when to take your required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your investment accounts so you can avoid the nasty penalties. And they can also help you figure out when to tap into Social Security.
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If you expect to receive an inheritance down the road, you may be wondering about everything from the tax implications to the best way to allocate the funds. A financial advisor can help keep that blessing from becoming a burden. They can advise you on how to adjust your financial goals and strategies, and they can tackle hard questions—like projected taxes. They can also walk you through the practical steps to take when that time comes.
No matter how old you are, dealing with taxes can feel overwhelming—especially as you grow your wealth and get closer to that dream retirement. A financial advisor can explain how taxes will impact your finances.
Whether it’s advising on charitable donations, constructing a tax-efficient estate plan, or making the most of tax breaks available to you, their goal is to minimize your tax burden while providing the best possible returns. Keep in mind, though, you should never make investing decisions based solely on taxes.
Some financial advisors are also investment professionals. Like SmartVestor Pros, these folks can help you determine what mutual funds are right for you and show you how to manage and make the most of your investments. They can also help you understand the risks and what you’ll need to do to achieve your goals.
A seasoned professional can also help you stay on the roller coaster of investing when it takes a dive. They know that what goes down—mutual funds—will likely go back up. Because they can remain emotionally neutral, they can be a voice of reason that reminds you to look at your investments with a long lens. They offer a level of service that makes their expertise a crucial part of any retirement plan.
Do You Need a Financial Advisor?
Folks, there’s a lot more to creating a financial plan than just picking the right mutual funds. You need to get on a budget and stick to it. You need a strategy and action steps to grow and build your retirement accounts. And you need to stay focused and intentional in planning for the future. A financial advisor can come alongside you to educate and encourage you as you work toward your goals.
If you are out of debt and ready to begin investing, consider talking to a SmartVestor Pro. Connecting with a SmartVestor Pro is free, so you can make sure you’re working with the person who’s right for you. Time to get to work!
Chris Hogan is the #1 national best-selling author of Retire Inspired: It’s Not an Age; It’s a Financial Number and host of the Retire Inspired Podcast. A popular and dynamic speaker on the topics of personal finance, retirement and leadership, Hogan helps people across the country develop successful strategies to manage their money in both their personal lives and businesses. You can follow Hogan on Twitter and Instagram at @ChrisHogan360 and online at chrishogan360.com or facebook.com/chrishogan360.