What is a financial advisor and do I really need one?
What is a financial advisor?
A financial advisor is someone who helps you manage your money by creating strategies for managing and building wealth, investments, estate planning, and more. As the name suggests, financial advisors can also provide insight and advice about other financial decisions to help you make the right choices for your circumstances.
“Financial advisor” can also be a catch-all term for professionals—like financial planners, wealth managers, money managers, retirement planners, and many other similar titles—but they generally all mean the same thing: financial guidance for people who want a strategy to achieve some future monetary goal.
What does a financial advisor do?
As mentioned above, financial advisors can help you with a lot of financial decisions to set yourself up for success. Some of the most common things people turn to financial advisors for is to help plan for future life events like home ownership, manage existing funds, retirement, and estate planning.
Planning for life events
Eventually, we all experience some big life event, whether it’s paying for college, buying a home, starting your own business, or caring for aging parents. Often times, your financial goals can overlap, collide, or simply seem unmanageable. A financial advisor will not only help you navigate the journey, but they’ll also work with you to prioritize your efforts. Sometimes you just need a more structured savings and investment strategy that can lead you to a more comfortable and less overwhelmed mindset.
Maximizing your current assets
Sometimes the help of a financial advisor is about managing the funds you already have. Many people use an advisor’s expertise to invest their savings and maximize the opportunity to put their money to work. They can help manage an investor’s tax liability, too. A financial advisor who specializes in tax-deferred investment vehicles can help you determine the most advantageous time to take a distribution from your retirement plan or identify beneficial tax-sheltered options.
Regardless of intellect, an investor may lack the appropriate knowledge when it comes to choosing investment options. Trying to balance the relationship between risk and return with your time horizon and your financial goals can be tricky. A smart investor seeks out and leverages the guidance of experts, even if they have investment experience. Don’t ever underestimate the value of professional advice.
It’s never too early to start planning for your retirement, and a financial advisor can help make those dreams come true. Whether you want to buy a boat to sail around the world or buy a large house for your grandkids to visit, your retirement dreams cost money.
Discussing those big dreams with your financial advisor can help you better understand your long-term financial needs. Additionally, they can advise on when you can access your retirement funds and Social Security benefits.
While end-of-life planning may feel morbid, it can help provide comfort during trying times. Having a will in particular can help relieve some of your family’s stress after you pass. Working with a financial advisor, in addition to an estate planning attorney, can ensure everything is distributed according to your wishes, but also plan out how to divide your assets. Financial advisors can even offer insight into potential future costs you hadn’t considered, like the costs of a family member adopting your pet.
When to choose a financial advisor
Some people think that only wealthy people need financial advisors, but the truth is, anyone can work with an advisor at any stage of life. Your first step should be to determine what financial goals you’re trying to accomplish. This can help decide what kind of financial advisor you might want to seek out.
Another big reason to work with a financial advisor is to help get your finances back on track. For some, their finances are one step away from crashing and burning. If you’re struggling with debt, a consolidation plan might be a wise first step. Financial advisors can develop a plan—not a get-rich-quick fix—where you’ll learn discipline, recognize your spending habits, and be held accountable so you can move toward improved financial health.
When you work through your goals with an advisor who has in-depth knowledge of your financial situation, you can create realistic expectations and learn to plan accordingly. Recommending appropriate investment vehicles and a savings strategy can help guide you through the uncertainty.
While some advisors require a long-term arrangement, there are many who offer free consultations and no-obligation appointments to review your financial plan—or lack thereof. Check out the services offered by your local bank or credit union and set up a meeting. If they don’t give you a gold star and a pat on the back, they’ll be sure to recommend a realistic strategy. Either way, you win!
- A financial advisor is someone who can help you manage existing funds and plan long-term financial goals, like home ownership, retirement, and estate planning.
- You don’t have to be a millionaire to have a financial advisor—anyone can work with an advisor, at any stage of life.
- Some reasons you may work with a financial advisor include planning for large financial decisions, helping pick investments for your portfolio, or getting you back on financial track.
Regardless of where you are in life, it’s never too early to start thinking about your future. A little strategic planning and insightful analysis now can go a long way to helping ensure you meet all your long-term financial goals.
If you’re ready to get started, you can send an email for a no-cost, no-obligation appointment or learn more about Georgia’s Own Investment & Retirement Services here. In addition to a wealth of experience and knowledge, our financial professionals also offer a genuine concern for your financial success. We’ll not only come up with a customized plan; we’ll also see it through.