Do You Need a Financial Advisor?

Do You Need a Financial Advisor?

Your mortgage, your loans, your savings, your retirement plan, your investment portfolio, your kids’ college funds, your taxes, your estate – these are all very real pieces of your overall financial picture, and figuring out how they all fit together to create fulfillment and peace of mind can feel like a never-ending exam in mathematics and law. Even if you’re only managing some of these financial components, the burden can contribute to significant stress in your everyday life. Is partnering with a financial advisor the answer?

Maybe your idea of working with a financial advisor involves long meetings about compounding interest and stock market trends. What many people may not understand is that a qualified financial coach differs from a financial advisor and is much more than a resource for calculating investment returns and explaining tax implications. The right partner can actually help you discover some of the underlying issues that may be slowing your ability to both identify and achieve your ultimate financial goals.

So, as you consider whether or not you truly need a financial coach, here are some expert insights to help you answer the question.

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Why Are Financial Coaches Important?

The recently released 2019 Retirement Confidence Survey reveals some interesting statistics that illustrate many Americans’ mindset as it relates to their financial future:

  • While 2 in 3 workers are confident they are doing a good job saving for retirement and know how much they will need to have saved to live comfortably, only 42% have actually tried to calculate how much money they will need.
  • 6 in 10 workers say their level of debt is a problem, including 19% who say it is a major problem.
  • 7 in 10 workers say their non-mortgage debt has impacted their ability to save for retirement, and over half say their ability to pay their bills or participate in employee benefits has been impacted.
  • 8 in 10 workers think they will work for pay in retirement, although retiree experiences indicate that only 28% actually do.
  • The majority of workers agree that preparing for retirement makes them feel stressed.

Most people haven’t had nearly the amount of time studying financial matters to make fully informed and objective decisions regarding critical elements like investing, saving and planning for retirement. Most of us are hard-wired to make financial moves based on emotional inclinations, which can be a costly and highly counterproductive approach.

Competent financial coaches, on the other hand, have spent their lives learning and working in this field. They’ve developed the knowledge and experience to ascertain clients’ long-term needs, challenges and goals, as well as determine a strategic path to achieve those objectives.

A financial coach can guide you through a number of complex and/or unique financial scenarios, regardless of your stage in life. They can help you make sense of the intricate financial details that might otherwise leave you confused, anxious and frustrated, as well as separate your emotions, biases and unrealistic expectations from the process and clarify the best decisions to yield fruitful results.

When Should You Seek Out Financial Advice?

Maybe you’re just starting to build a family, your spouse passed away, or perhaps you’re in the throes of a divorce. You might be thinking about how you’ll pay for your children’s college education or wondering how to best manage their inheritance. Whether you’re planning for everyday life, nearing retirement, in retirement or have experienced a life-changing event, partnering with a professional financial coach affords you the insights, strategies and tools to help you connect your investment choices to what matters most to you.

That said, the answer regarding when you should seek out financial advice is a rather simple one: the sooner, the better.

Understand that no matter what financial decision you’re facing, discovering your true purpose for money can steer your approach and pave the way for long-lasting fulfillment. While money is important, it’s only one element of total wealth. There are also more personal concerns at play, like safety, security, comfort and independence. When you struggle, worry or suffer over money, it’s often because your financial choices don’t align with your inner value system.

A financial coach can help you dig deep to discover what money really means to you, which is a process of exploring your individual values and beliefs. When your financial decisions align with your values, you’re more likely to experience an authentic sense of satisfaction and contentment. This is how a financial coach can help you live a better, less stressful life, and that’s not something you should wait on another minute longer.

What Kind of Relationship Can You Have with an Advisor?

Some financial advisor firms contract with clients on a one-time or as-needed basis so you can tackle specific concerns or design a simple financial plan. Others cater to long-term financial needs, getting to know you personally in order to be more effective at managing your financial accounts and investment portfolios. The type of relationship you choose should be based on your individual needs and overall financial goals.

Some of the services you can expect to get from a professional financial advisor include:

  • Financial Planning and Advice: Rely on an experienced team of financial planners to simplify your efforts, answer your questions, assess your personal situation and create a realistic plan that’s perfect for you.
  • Investment Management: Your financial advisor should take into account what’s happening in today’s markets to customize your investment approach and design a broadly diversified portfolio to target higher expected returns, control costs and manage risk.
  • Retirement Planning: Get guidance, strategies and services to steer you toward and through a secure retirement, with objective advice and a lifelong game plan built around your values and goals.
  • Wealth Management: Tap into a network of financial, business and legal experts to help you navigate your life or business transitions, estate planning, charitable giving and transfers to the next generation.
  • Legacy Planning: Whether you want to give during your lifetime or build a legacy for future generations, a financial coach can help you create a plan to carry your goals forward, allocate your money appropriately, reduce your taxes and fully align your assets with your values and intent.

How Do You Find the Right Advisor for You?

In order to hire the best financial coach for your needs, you must first consider the available options and think about what’s best for you. More importantly, you need to know that the firm you select aligns with your principles. Because, ultimately, being able to make purposeful, informed choices and take timely, confident action in support of what really matters is one of the biggest drivers of long-term financial success.

It’s essential to work with a financial coach who takes the time to understand your entire financial picture, uncover your deepest needs and concerns, and create a wealth strategy that’s perfectly suited for you. Look for a firm that will serve as your personal team, working to identify your dreams, define your goals, review your assets, measure your risk tolerance and analyze your needs – one that will recommend only what’s in your best interest and stay with you every step of the way to implement, monitor and track your progress.

Once you find the right fit for you, make the most of your time together by ensuring that you prepare properly before an upcoming meeting. You’ll want to gather all the necessary financial documents and begin thinking about some of your basic goals so that your advisor coach can get the most accurate information to best position you to meet your unique needs.

Need help preparing for an appointment with a financial advisor? To streamline the process of assembling a comprehensive list of all information pertaining to your family’s current financial picture, download your free copy of The Family Inventory Workbook.

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Seamlessly organize your financial, health, personal and legal documents in this handy reference guide.

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About Greg Hammond, CFP®, CPA

Greg Hammond is the chief executive officer of Hammond Iles Wealth Advisors, and co-founder of Planned Giving Strategies®. Greg leads a team of professional financial advisors providing customized wealth management and investment solutions for high-net-worth individuals, families, companies, and charitable organizations across the U.S.