There are a lot of preconceived notions out there about what a financial advisor is and what they do. Often people assume a financial advisor is a stockbroker, making daily trades and helping wealthy individuals strategically play the stock market. While some advisors specialize in investing and helping people build portfolios, there’s much more to financial advising that can benefit anyone regardless of their wealth, from a young college grad to a retiring couple.
Keeps You Focused on the Right Goals
We all have visions for our future, some of which are realistic and others that are a bigger reach. By getting to know you on a personal level and understanding your needs and circumstances, a financial advisor can help you formalize specific short and long-term goals and prioritize by importance. This is crucial because if we have too many goals in mind, we may struggle to accomplish any of them.
A financial advisor can help you understand which goals require the most work, what you have to do to attain them, and how they affect one another. For example, many families with kids may feel forced to decide between planning for their retirement and planning for their child’s college education. Or perhaps a family is considering purchasing a new home, or weighing the pros and cons of buying a vacation home and renting it out in the summer. A financial advisor can recommend different routes, help you make an informed choice, and offer ongoing assistance.
Answers Your Important Questions
Whether you realize it or not, you likely encounter countless financial questions throughout your life. Are you saving enough? Should you pay down your mortgage or invest the money? Does life insurance make sense for your family? How much should you contribute to your 401(k)? Does it make more financial sense for your wife to work or stay at home to raise the kids? (For more from this author, see: Should My Spouse Work or Stay Home?)
No matter how big or small you think your questions are, they can significantly impact your financial future. And when it comes to your personal situation and needs, a quick Google search won’t yield the answers that are most appropriate for you. A financial advisor is someone you should be able to turn to at anytime when you have questions. Life doesn’t always go according to plans, so you should never feel like you can’t talk to your advisor outside of a scheduled time.
Helps You Stay on Track as a Family
Many times, couples have different ideas about money, from how much to save versus spend to the definition of wealth. A financial advisor is like a money counselor, helping couples and families get on the same page financially by communicating their financial goals with one another and finding goals they both agree on. Serving as a neutral third-party, an advisor can help both spouses understand the tradeoffs of their decisions and how to find balance between differing goals. (For related reading from this author, see: 4 Things to Do Shortly After Getting Married.)
Beyond the initial setting of goals, a financial advisor also helps you implement strategies and stay on track. Financial planning isn’t a one time event. It’s an ongoing process that requires regular refinement and, possibly, major adjustments should life or economic changes dictate.
Working with a financial advisor isn’t just about buying stocks, and you don’t need to be an established millionaire to benefit from a financial plan. One of the best things about working with a financial advisor is that you have the opportunity to determine the extent of the planning to match your comfort level. Whether you want to get started with a simple budget or are ready to dive deep into investing and retirement planning, the choice is yours.
(For more from this author, see: Who Should Work With a Financial Advisor?)
The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only. They are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual and do not constitute an endorsement by NPC.