Some financial advisors simply do a job for you. Some perform a service for you. This leads to the title question above–is your advisor simply a money manager or actually a full-scale financial planner? Here are a few questions to consider so as to help you answer that question:
1. Has your financial advisor met with you in the last 1-2 years?
Planning requires review and updating according to changes. Changes of which inevitably occur in life and can affect your financial situation–loss of a job, promotion, serious health problem, inheritance, etc. Over the years circumstances change–sometimes for the better, sometimes not. This too affects your financial planning.
When circumstances change for the better, you may experience being in a position where you have an income surplus. This presents opportunities to leverage that surplus for your future benefit. When circumstances go the other way, your advisor should look at your present situation and see how to assist you in budgeting and allocating retirement account contributions wisely. In either situation, having a personal plan in place allows your advisor to scale it up or down according to changes in your circumstances.
If you haven’t seen your advisor in years, there’s a good chance they’ve left your retirement up for chance by not having a formal plan in place.
2. Has your advisor talked about not just your current financial position, but your future income needs?
If your future income needs haven’t come up in conversation, it could be a major red flag that your advisor isn’t considering how the money you have in the present should be positioned for your future. Although they may be performing the job of managing your money well, this isn’t all that’s involved in providing beneficial financial assistance.
Other considerations need to be made that could determine how your money should be managed at present and in future years. Such considerations may include:
- If your age, income needs, and retirement timeline correspond with the current amount of risk your assets are exposed to
- How to make the most tax-efficient use of your current assets
- When and how much money will be taken from where
3. Has your advisor spoken extensively with you on the topic of retirement planning?
If not, this could be a sign that your future financial situation may still be up in the air, despite the fact that you have an advisor.
A financial planner should consider with you how you and your family can be protected if your circumstances take a downward turn. For example, have they brought up the value of long-term care (LTC) insurance or another form of life insurance to compensate for income lost? They should also consider if your retirement goals include not just having enough money to live out this chapter of your life, but whether they also include leaving something behind for loved ones.
If you’re interested in a second opinion, please click here to speak to one of our advisors. We’d be happy to describe why we call ourselves All-Inclusive Retirement Planners.