When Do You Need a Financial Advisor?
When do you need a financial advisor? The shortest answer is probably “Now” because sound financial advice at any stage will help you achieve your goals faster. However, many people are simply unaware of how much they can benefit from a fiduciary financial advisor’s insights.
There are two common but unsubstantiated myths about financial advisors that prevent many people from working with one. People think it’s too expensive or assume that you have to be rich to benefit.
Recent surveys found that most Americans are winging their financial management. Even using the most optimistic numbers, most people are not on target to meet their retirement goals.
Financial planning helps you set goals and put a plan into action to achieve them. It guides your decision-making process. Over time, it can take you out of the habitual experience you’ve created by default into a life you really want.
Whether you are an individual interested in retirement planning, an entrepreneur, or simply someone seeking to safeguard a financial legacy for their loved ones, here are seven situations when a financial planner can make a substantial difference in your life.
You’d Like Financial Advice Regarding an Inheritance, Divorce, or Other Significant Change
If you are at a point where you can (or should be able to) put 15% or more of your income into savings, you are arguably ready for a financial advisor.
When you work with a fiduciary financial advisor, you have a full-time expert on your side. While you may research the market a few times a week, an advisor has devoted their career to helping people with their finances.
Once you are in a financial position to put money aside, you can significantly benefit from a fiduciary financial advisor’s knowledge and experience. They can help you set meaningful goals and support you as you steadily achieve them.
A reputable advisor can also help you avoid common mistakes that trip people up when they do their own finances. Similarly, they can help you weather challenging markets and economic changes. It pays to have an expert on your side.
We would never tell you that money is the key to happiness. In fact, some people even reported feeling worse about their lives when, for example, they won a lottery. Maybe it has something to do with not having earned those funds. Or, maybe it simply makes navigating the legal, financial, and interpersonal world around them suddenly more complex.
A 2022 study found that people who become affluent through their jobs, a business, or investments have the opposite experience. Individuals and families holding household assets of more than $1.2 million tend to feel happier when working with a financial advisor.
Part of this may simply be good old-fashioned stress reduction. After all, getting your runaway finances under control can do a lot to help your world start making sense again. However, participants in that study seem to have experienced a sense of accelerated happiness in multiple areas of their lives.
They even reported feeling better about their personal relationships. In addition to feeling happier about their money, some said that they felt better about communicating with their partners. We are a little blown away by this part, but that is exactly what the study says.
From a technical perspective, a financial advisor can help you minimize your tax liability, keep your investment portfolio ready for the economic turns of the day, make any charitable donations go further, and much more. These reasons alone should be enough to show why you need one when (if not before) things get complicated.
However, there is often far more to life when it comes to other reasons why. For instance, maybe you are having children for the first time. Despite the many upsides, their ability to shrink your free time is legendary.
Next, before you know it, it is time to prepare for their college years. This is another area in which the sooner you begin saving, the better off you will be in the long run. Getting proactive always beats letting how-will-I-cover-tuition worries follow you around on-campus visits.
Meanwhile, sometimes you blink, and a parent whose independence you have long admired needs more and more help with the basic functions of daily living. Especially if in-home care or a nursing facility is in the future, this is another situation to budget for as far ahead of the need as you can.
Even if none of these things are currently the case for you, owning a home can be reason enough to seek the expertise of a financial advisor. A mortgage does not necessarily have to take, for example, all 30 years to pay off. If you have acquired or inherited investment properties you are liable for taxes on, the need for better-than-adequate planning should be even clearer.
Sudden windfalls do happen. One minute someone is working the evening shift at a hot dog stand… and the next, a lawyer contacts them, revealing the fact that an eccentric, laundromat-dwelling uncle has passed away, leaving them an unexpected fortune.
You may find yourself suddenly single after years of marriage, so you need the assistance of a financial professional who can help you navigate how best to prepare for your new life and financial commitments.
You probably already know, anyway: Life can sometimes seem to shift with the wind, abruptly changing forever without any prior warning. The emotional ramifications can be challenging enough without worrying about the financial impact. That is why the services of a fiduciary advisor can be invaluable at times like these.
Thankfully, there are very few circumstances in which every human being experiences the same emotional state at the same time. So, when you are overcome nearly beyond words, we can offer guidance from a calmer, objective perspective. Obviously, we always prefer seeing you
happy, but at ViaWealth, we intend to be here for you, regardless of what hand life has currently dealt you.
It is human to want to believe that whatever goals we set, we will pursue without deviation. Meanwhile, it is also human to procrastinate, get distracted, or simply forget about them. The most embarrassing circumstance may be realizing that we want to reach a goal… but we just cannot seem to muster the discipline from within to get all the way there.
Most honest people will admit that they can identify with all of these moments from firsthand experience. The biggest difference between those who reach their goals and those forever lagging behind is sometimes a simple admission that we cannot do everything by ourselves.
We are here to provide friendlier, consistent encouragement when you need it, though. In addition to managing assets according to your specifications and helping you create sound financial plans, we can gently help you find a deeper attachment to your financial objectives. We call this values-based financial advising. It begins with simply getting to know you, sitting down to discuss what you value most in life and what you personally define wealth to be.
Next, we analyze the data before proposing what we believe to be your best options for reaching your monetary objectives as soon as possible. Together, we review these in order for you to make your choices from a well-informed vantage point. Before implementing your newly-made plan, we help you set and connect with your goals.
This involves getting extremely specific and detailed. For example, instead of saying, “On Wednesday, May 28th of 202X, my retirement starts,” we encourage writing things like, “On Wednesday, May 28th of 202X, I will pay cash for a fishing boat, name it ‘Lazycaster,’ and begin my retirement as a guide for anglers on Lake Ontario.” This creates a much more profound connection to long-term financial goals, making them more motivating and memorable.
We can also incorporate milestones or, put another way, short-term and mid-term goals along the path to reaching your longer-term overall objective. These can help to better align your finances with your overall goal, but they also tend to make the journey there feel shorter.
Regardless of why you are leaving a position, it is never a good idea to forget about a 401(k) you have there. If you have a 403(b) with your soon-to-be-previous employer, overlooking this would be a mistake, as well. These are huge components of your retirement funds, so letting them drift aimlessly is not in your best interest. You have more than a couple of options to choose from, so a certified financial planner can help you determine which makes the most sense in keeping with your preferred retirement goals.
The easiest option might be to leave the funds where they are. The upsides are that your money could grow with taxes deferred, and you could take withdrawals penalty-free if you are 55 or older when you leave. By the same token, keeping those funds where they are means that you will not be able to add anything more to that account, and your distribution (withdrawal) options can be limited. None of this matters if you have under $5,000 in it, anyway. If this is the case, those funds may get sent to you automatically.
So, you could opt to roll it over into an IRA. This can be a means for continuing tax-deferred growth. It might allow you a wider variety of investment options than your previous employer’s
plan did, too, but you would likely incur management fees that you didn’t have before, which need to be considered. You might be eligible to roll a 401(k) into your new employer’s plan, assuming that they offer one. Keep in mind, though: Some employers do not allow rollovers
from another company’s plan. If yours does, you can combine your retirement savings, making the whole thing easier to manage. In this scenario, too, your funds can continue growing with taxes deferred.
In truth, cashing out is an option as well, though this may not be a good idea since there can be a minefield of consequences awaiting you at that point. For instance, if you are younger than age 59½, your withdrawn money immediately becomes liable to normal taxes and a 10% early withdrawal penalty. The only exception to this is if you were 55 or older—but not yet 59½ when you ended working for your former employer (though it does not cover assets you have rolled over into an IRA).
Unless you know the U.S. tax code well enough to find none of this confusing, we stand by our belief that you are profoundly better off (already) working with a financial advisor whenever you leave a job.
Financial planning is not innate, so every human being has to learn how to handle money. Because the most beneficial financial planning is often done over the longest term possible, the sooner you start, the better.
This makes the lack of adequate financial education in many schools today tragic. Hiring a financial advisor can help young future successes gain vital knowledge and decision-making experience that they may not otherwise gain on their own. Our article on the value of financial planning recalls how one family gave their daughter the gift of financial literacy—and by doing so, potentially improved her future life. Although many advisors normally have a minimum asset amount required for someone to become a client, this couple budgeted to pay a lump sum for a year of planning.
To this day, we are not certain if they knew just how significant of a legacy they were leaving for their potential grandchildren by doing this. Learning to set and keep financial goals while still in college yielded her the wisdom to pay off debts, avoid future ones, and start gathering wealth. Her chances of lifelong financial security are immensely better as a result.
Yes, you read this one correctly. You do not need any interest in how your finances work to appreciate the advantages of hiring an advisor. We think you are better off learning at least the basics. But, we never turn someone away because they prefer a set-it-and-forget-it approach to their money.
Your money is, after all, your money. No judgment is implied, either. Sometimes you have to take your car to a shop for repairs—and you just do not have the energy for anything beyond sitting and waiting until they are complete.
If your life is crazy-busy between work, family, and other things, we are happy to manage your assets on more of an automatic basis. Given your permission, we would like to at least keep you informed enough to stay accountable. Regardless, you might say that we do have a mute button in regard to the day-to-day minutia of your portfolio. You always have the option to increase how in the loop you are on the details of your savings’ and assets’ management down the road. You never have to, though.
At ViaWealth, our experts are ready to help plan your retirement, help ensure your financial legacy for your loved ones, and more.