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The Role of a Financial Planner

Most people believe financial planners are just investment advisors, but there are additional strategies they can provide to assist people’s lives in regards to their financial situation. Here are some of the more important strategies financial planners can provide:

Organize and manage finances-Many of us have complex financial lives, yet lack the time, expertise, discipline and objectivity to put our financial house in order. Financial planners can examine your overall net worth and financial situation, help you identify your life goals and objectives, and recommend strategies to help you towards achieving your goals.

Marriage and children-Blending two independent financial lives can be complicated, particularly if there are conflicting financial personalities or there were previous marriages. It’s critical to address such issues as insurance, tilting of assets and delegating money management duties to preserve and protect assets.

Divorce-The end of a marriage is frequently financially devastating. Simply dividing assets in half is often a bad decision. A financial planner can help assist in reviewing how a settlement will serve you for the long term.

Receiving a financial windfall-Inheriting a substantial sum of money or winning the lottery often involves other financial and non-financial factors. For example, it may be better to put the money toward debts, or you may want to donate some of it to charity. Inheritance in particular is often fraught with deep emotional issues and family conflicts, so independent outside advice can be invaluable.

Planning for retirement-Investment decisions are naturally a critical component of retirement planning. But often overlooked are how to withdraw funds from your nest egg once you retire, and especially what kind of retirement you want to live. A financial planner can help you crystallize your retirement vision, then design a plan to help towards achieving that vision.

Funding for college-Beyond selecting among investment options, other key issues include financial aid and tax considerations.   

Facing a financial crisis-The loss of a job, a serious illness, a legal problem or a natural disaster might prompt the seeking of financial advice.

Career advice-Financial planners can advise you on the financial consequences of a career change, compensation or separation package, employee stock options and retirement plans such as deferred compensation and 401(k)’s.

Running a business-A financial planner can help in to setting up a retirement and benefits plan for the owner and the employees, and, most often overlooked by owners, creating a realistic succession plan upon the business owner's retirement, death, disability, or decision to sell.

Death of a spouse-All too frequently the surviving spouse hurriedly and under great stress makes critical long-term financial decisions involving insurance, investments and retirement plans. Rarely is there a more important time for informed, objective outside advice.

Charitable giving-Families blessed with enough discretionary income and assets may want to make substantial donations to one or more favorite charities. But there are many options, some of which can save you taxes, thus allowing you to leave more to your beneficiaries.

Insurance review-A financial planner can analyze your insurance needs and look at options like disability income and long-term care in relation to overall financial circumstances and goals.

Estate planning- While you need an attorney to draft the documents utilized in estate planning, the financial planner can put those documents in the context of your financial circumstances and your vision of how you want your estate dispersed. Financial planners can discuss strategies for wills, living wills, power of attorney, life insurance, trusts and other estate planning issues for the distribution of wealth, in life and in death.

In addition a Financial Planner should:

  • Check in with their clients periodically to discuss economic conditions and present “what if” scenarios. 

  • Help clients estimate their basic living expenses in retirement and discuss strategies for the distribution of assets following retirement. 

  • Propose asset allocation strategy adjustments aligned with your current risk tolerance and financial goals.

 



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