Everyone has a dream. Many people dedicate their work to it and put every spare penny towards it. But, getting there alone is often a considerable feat. Financial advisors bring you the support and knowledge you need, whether it’s help navigating a sticky financial situation or obtaining your goals.
But is it worth seeking out the guidance of a professional? While you might think only the wealthy go to a financial advisor to talk about stock options and trust funds, they’re a vital service to many middle-class individuals. Here’s a brief overview to give you some insight into how a financial advisor works.
WHAT DOES A FINANCIAL ADVISOR DO?
While some certainly execute trades for their clients, there is much more to their job than handling stocks. Financial advisors are professionals who use their expertise and experience to help you make the right money choices. That means their knowledge reaches far and wide. And that’s part of their work—educating. With a financial advisor, there is no silly question. They use their financial know-how to make overwhelming tasks manageable through easy-to-understand explanations.
For example, you may want to begin building wealth. However, there are numerous ways to do so, such as contributing to a savings account and investment accounts to cutting back on your expenses. Your advisor can break down your options into digestible information. That gives you the chance to make a well-informed decision.
HOW DO I KNOW IT’S TIME TO TALK TO A FINANCIAL ADVISOR?
There are endless reasons you might want to talk with a financial advisor. Some common reasons include:
- Need an investment strategy
- Want to reduce your tax burden
- Need retirement guidance
- Want an objective financial decision in an emotional situation
- Want to lower your investment portfolio’s risk.
So, there are situations where you may “need” to talk to a financial advisor, but there might also be circumstances where you “want” to talk to a professional. Both are valid and the “right time” if that’s what works for you.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO FIND A FINANCIAL ADVISOR?
There are a couple of places you can look if you want to find a financial advisor, such as:
- Search Online. There are databases online that you can look through, such as U.S. News. Or you can use a search engine to narrow down your options. Specific search terms can help you find financial advisors who specialize in the area you need.
- Ask for Recommendations. The people around you might have some places to start looking. Talk to friends, neighbors, or family members to see if they have any pointers.
- Robo-advisors. You don’t always have to use a human. Robo-advisors help automatically manage your investment portfolio and are typically cheaper. Many online trading platforms lack commission fees or account minimums, which lowers the overall service price.
- The Garrett Planning Network. This website gives you a map of the U.S. that lets you look through advisors with middle-class clients by state.
- NAPFA. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA.org) is another resource for finding local financial advisors.
- AFCPE. The Accredited Financial Counselor site (AFCPE.org) is another strong contender that shows you middle-class dedicated financial counselors and planners.
HOW MUCH DOES A FINANCIAL PLANNER COST?
Financial advisors have different fee structures that affect the cost. While some advisors may charge a flat fee of $1,500 to $2,500 to create a financial plan, others may charge a percentage (such a 1% for assets under management) to manage your portfolio indefinitely.
If you want to find out what your financial advisor might charge, check out their firm’s Form ADV or brochure. You want to look at this ahead of time before you begin working with someone. That way, you know what to expect. Or ask them about it! It’s also possible to negotiate, depending on the advisor.
Talking to a financial advisor is often advantageous. Whether you’re beginning your financial journey or inching close to retirement, having a financial advisor by your side can streamline your path to a secure financial future.