Professional financial advice is a very valuable tool. So why don’t more people seek money management help from the pros? I spent nine years working as a financial planner and I can tell you that the two main reasons why the majority of people don’t seek professional advice are because 1. They don’t think they need it and 2. They don’t want to pay for it.
My answers to that are simple: 1. Everyone can always be better and sometimes a second pair of non-biased eyes can make the world of a difference and 2. Since when do consumers receive something (i.e. a service) for nothing?
With that being said it’s true that not every single person in the whole world needs professional financial advice, however, most people (regardless of how much money they have) can benefit from talking with a professional.
Here are 3 life events when it’s time to get professional financial advice:
You get married – or divorced
Marriage – the beginning or end of – can really wreak havoc on your finances. All of a sudden you can find yourself living on one income and it’s safe to say that adjustments need to be made. Learning to live on one income requires a new retirement plan and a new monthly budget. Advice from a financial professional can help paint a clear picture of your financial situation after a divorce.
A common question from newlyweds is “Should we merge our finances?” Although there is no right or wrong answer because it truly depends on the couple, the days of the man managing the money and making all the financial decisions are over.
As long as each spouse is contributing equally towards the monthly household expenses I don’t see why finances need to be merged. However, if one spouse is better at managing money than the other a joint account may be necessary, but that doesn’t mean each person can’t maintain individual bank and investment accounts as well.
Land your first job – or change careers
A new job – whether it’s your first or tenth – marks a milestone in your life. A new, or newfound, income means setting a new (realistic) budget. Online budget tools such as Mint.com or YouNeedaBudget.com are available to the masses, but sometimes you need a little bit more help with in-person, professional financial advice. A financial professional can help open retirement accounts, choose employee benefits, and allocate your income towards savings, necessities, and fun money.
Within 10 years of retirement
In all honesty, I feel that everyone can benefit from retirement planning – whether you’re 25 or 55. However the closer you are to retirement the more planning you need. It’s the time to check in on your goals and see if your savings-to-date will be enough to support the lifestyle you want to have during retirement.
If the answer is yes, then great. However, if the answer is no there is still time to set and adjust to more realistic goals (such as living on less or prolonging the date) or start saving more.