Do you need a financial advisor before the end of the year? Here’s how to know for sure
Think you need a financial advisor or financial planner? Deciding whether or not to add a financial advisor to your âteamâ can depend on a variety of reasons, both personal and practical. The end of the year might be a good time to search for your new team member.
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In a CNBC and Acorns Invest In You Savings survey, the majority of Americans polled said they manage their own finances without the help of a professional or online service. The survey showed that 75% of Americans manage their own money – only 17% manage their money with the help of a financial advisor. In terms of age groups, a total of 31% of Americans aged 65 and over use a financial advisor, compared with just 4% of Americans aged 18 to 24 and just 7% of Americans aged 25 to 34 years old.
Let’s take a look at what financial advisers do, why you should get help from a financial advisor before the end of the year, and what type of financial advisor might be right for you.
What can a financial advisor do to help you at the end of the year?
Working with a financial advisor at the end of the year can be a good time to assess what worked and what didn’t work this year. How often do you run out of money to pay your bills every month? Do you have increasing debt pressure? Have you identified specific goals over the past year to ensure the future stability of your family?
A financial advisor can help you quantify these goals. For example, let’s say you had a baby this year and want to start saving for college. A financial advisor can help you calculate how much you need to save per month to meet your college savings goals.
Whatever big life decision is on the horizon, a financial advisor can help you put a plan in place. Your financial advisor will look at a number of factors, from your salary to your time horizon, to help you make wise money choices.
Reasons to hire a financial advisor before the end of the year
Your finances can get more and more complicated from year to year. You may want to consider taking the plunge next year for the following reasons.
Reason 1: You are new to making financial decisions.
Do you know the basics of investing? Working with an advisor can lay the foundation for future success. You may only need to hire someone temporarily, as you get used to making decisions about your future. You might not need a financial advisor forever – you might want to have one to get you started.
Reason 2: You have experienced a major event in your life.
This year, did you get married, have a child, have you divorced or have you experienced the death of a spouse? Each of these life transitions requires careful financial planning. You may need more than just basic financial advice; you might need someone to help you decide on your best financial course of action. For example, your spouse may have passed away and left you a lot of money with a life insurance policy. A financial advisor can help you determine a balanced asset mix in various investments so you can meet all of your needs, whether it’s saving for retirement, planning your education, budgeting for short-term needs. and more.
Reason 3: You are receiving or planning to give a large amount of money.
During the holidays, families often give generously to their loved ones. You might receive an unexpected large sum of money, which might merit consideration from a financial advisor due to tax considerations.
You could also plan to give your family members a large sum of money while on vacation. A financial advisor can explain the gift and inheritance tax exemptions to you. You want to know the total amount you can donate on the annual exclusion amounts, while you are alive or on your death, before you have to pay federal gift or inheritance tax. You may want to come up with a comprehensive plan to give away for the many vacations ahead.
Financial advisers can also help you plan your estate when you die, an important consideration if you are married or have children. A financial planner can help you work with a lawyer to determine what happens to your money and property in the event of death.
Reason 4: You need help at the end of the year with debt management.
The end of the year can be a great time to think about how you are managing your debt. If you’re facing a complicated debt situation, like crushing credit card debt or medical bills, a financial advisor can help you overcome the obstacles. You may also want to consider discussing your personal debt situation with a financial advisor from your company. These sessions are often free. Check with your company’s human resources office to find out when you can sign up for workplace financial planning.
Reason 5: You will get a raise or promotion at the end of the year.
If you get a promotion or a raise because of your job, you may want to talk to a financial advisor about how to handle a big raise in your salary. A financial advisor can help you figure out how to responsibly manage your pay rise and help you make a plan to continue growing your wealth.
What type of financial advisor should help you with your year-end planning?
What kind of advisor do you need? You can get an advisor with a wide variety of certifications. Here are three types of financial advisor certifications you can consider:
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP): CFP professionals meet rigorous educational, training and ethical standards and can advise you on a wide range of investment and tax advice. CFPs must complete at least 1,000 hours of work before being certified.
- Certified Financial Consultant (ChFC): ChFCs don’t need to achieve the same level of testing as a CFP, but they must meet rigorous standards and have three years of experience in the field before being certified.
- Certified public account (CPA): CPAs help individuals and businesses with financial planning, investments, and taxes. They must meet specific education and work requirements and pass an exam to become certified.
You always want to make sure that your financial advisor is a trustee. Trustees are required by law to put your financial interests ahead of their own financial gain. Some financial advisers have a fee-only structure and will earn money by selling certain financial products to their clients. If you want to avoid this, make sure your advisor is a listed trustee. Visit napfa.org to view the database of trustees.
Plus, you want to know how financial advisors are paid for their work. Many advisers charge hourly fees, and you should also expect a financial advisor to charge an annual fee, such as 1% to 2% of your investments.
Need some good advice before the end of the year?
You may be wondering how to find the right advisor. Find out from your family, friends and colleagues. They may already be working with a fantastic financial fiduciary advisor in your city.
Make appointments or phone calls with a few potential advisors before you make your final decision. You want to make sure your advisor matches your personality and understands your financial goals.
Getting your finances in order now can put you in a great position before your New Year’s resolutions take hold.