What Can I Do To Minimize Taxes Each Year
This is an important question to ask at any time of the year, but you may fare better if you ask before tax season arrives. Depending on your situation, your advisor may recommend making charitable donations throughout the year or opening a health savings account. Or they can also make recommendations such as claiming certain exemptions or tax credits when you file your taxes.
However, be aware that your financial advisor doesnt know everything. If they cant answer your specific tax questions, they may know a tax professional who can.
When Should My Spouse And I Take Social Security
The decision of when to claim your Social Security benefits is often one of the first long-term decisions youll make when you retire. Nearly everyone starts by asking themself which age is best to start: 62, full retirement age, or 70.
The answer thats right for you depends on a myriad of factors, including your other income sources, financial need, spousal considerations, health status, and more.
Asking your advisor this question will show you if they take the time to develop the best answer since its not the same for everyone and shouldnt be made in a vacuum.
You need to consider other areas of your retirement income and your decisions impact on taxes.
Your decision can have a significant effect on whether or not your money will last throughout retirement. The right decision can potentially provide hundreds of thousands of dollars more in benefits depending on how long you and your spouse live. It could also extend the life of your savings by several years.
What To Ask A Financial Advisor
Knowing what to ask a financial advisor will help you hire a good financial advisor. There are over 300,000 financial advisors in the United States. Financial advisors may go by other names like Financial planners, wealth managers, or financial consultants. Asking the right questions will ensure you are hiring someone with the right expertise.
What Can I Do To Be More Prepared
Financial planners may be able to see things you’ve missed on your journey to get ready to retire. To be as prepared as possible, your financial planner might be able to suggest some moves to make now to help you out later on.
Financial planner Amy Richardson of Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium says that there are several things she generally suggests to anyone who wants to retire in five years.
She often suggests that her clients start saving as much as possible during their last five working years, as well as start thinking about health insurance during that time. And, she says, it’s not too early to start thinking about the non-financial aspects of retirement, like how you’ll spend your time.
Your financial planner can help you start to think beyond the basics of your planning and help you reach your goals before you leave work.
Question #: How Do You And Your Firm Receive Compensation
There are many ways an advisor gets paid, and each advisor has specific reasons for doing so. Some charge a flat fee for their advice and others receive commissions on product sales such as investments or insurance. There are benefits and downsides to all types of compensation structures, however its vital that you clearly understand how your advisor gets paid. If your advisor is reluctant to share their compensation structure, this might be a warning sign.
Each compensation structure provides different incentives, and good advisors structure their compensation to serve their clients best. For retirees, paying an advisor a flat fee, or a fee wrapped into their account, could be the best option. Itâs cost effective because there may be price breaks for larger account sizes. And it also reduces the advisorâs incentive to over-sell high priced investments.
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If You Said Investments You May Not Be Getting The Best Advice Unfortunately Its A Common Problem Your Adviser Needs To Dig Deeper And You Need To Know The Right Questions To Ask
Every investor wants to see their money grow its a given. So, if growth is already the assumption when it comes to saving and investing, what describes the goal you have for your money?
As you build wealth, it is important to know why youre building the wealth, not just learning about what investment to add to your portfolio. This may sound like common sense, but I wouldnt be spending my time writing this article if it werent a common problem.
Can You Explain This Concept To Me
Youre not likely to understand every concept or term in the financial world if you havent spent years studying finance. Because you arent a financial expert, its important to ask the right questions.
Your advisor should be passionate about financial education and encourage you to ask questions. It is the advisors role to help you make your own well-informed decisions not just tell you what to do. Do not implement financial decisions you do not understand, Cody Garrett, a certified financial planner and owner of Measure Twice Financial, told Annuity.org.
Asking your financial advisor questions will keep you informed and confident in the decisions youre making with your money, while simultaneously helping you identify areas for improvement.
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I Have A Pension What Could Happen If Something Happened To My Old Employer Or If My Pension Benefits Were Cut
Its great if you are receiving a corporate pension of any kind. This type of pension is rapidly disappearing in modern times.
But what if your old employer is bought out or your pension benefits are cut for some reason? You might want to take proactive measures to regain your former stream of guaranteed income.
You may consider buying an annuity with some of your savings, because this could replace the income you were receiving before. Or you may want to move more of your money into income-producing instruments moving forward.
Your financial advisor can help you determine this. The answer depends, in part, upon how dependent you were on your pension income.
How Will You Communicate With Me And How Often
Communication is key to any successful relationship. A financial advisor should be proactive. They should give you regular updates and the latest investment guidance and research. And they should periodically check in to see if your needs have changed since the last time you met.The right amount of communication will of course vary from person to person. It’s a personal preference strike a balance that works for you. When you’ve decided to hire an advisor, agree on how often youll touch base before you commit. You should expect at least one annual meeting to review your financial picture.
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How Long Have You Worked As A Financial Advisor
This answer is important for a variety of reasons. How many market cycles has your financial advisor helped other clients through? What sorts of conditions have their strategies or recommendations been battle-tested and proven?
Its prudent to seek someone who have experience in helping others navigate complex retirement issues. You want them to be able to bring that expertise to bear on your personal situation.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your financial advisor is a kind of coach. They are there as an objective guide, helping you guard against bad decisions or financial knee-jerk reactions that can take your progress off the rails.
The years of experience that a financial advisor has in the industry are one indicator. Another one is the professional financial designations. Those designations are a recognition of how your advisor has taken rigorous coursework and passed tests to demonstrate their knowledge in different areas.
A few common designations are the Certified Financial Planner® credential or the Chartered Life Underwriter® designation. There are many other designations spanning many areas of financial expertise, including for retirement income planning and even federal employee benefits.
Still, there is no substitute for experience at the end of the day. An advisor who has at least five years of experience should usually be able to help you achieve your financial goals.
Gather Documents To Bring To Your Meeting
Your financial professional wont be able to get into specifics without an accurate picture of your financial situation.
Make sure to bring this information to your meeting:
- Latest statements for all your accounts s, 529s, savings)
- Information about other investments or assets
- Compensation details
- Monthly expenses
- Recent tax records
- Estate planning information
Remember, you dont have to go it alone. Your financial professional is a valuable resource who can help you create a financial strategy that meets your needs and goals.
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How Do We Work Together
Between work and family commitments, its crucial to find someone who makes good use of your limited time. Ask about when and how they can meet with you. Do they have evening or weekend hours? If you can’t or don’t want to meet in person, do they have tools, like web conferences, to meet virtually? How often will they meet with you?
Besides the basic logistics of meeting with a financial advisor, it’s important to see if your approach to working with someone aligns with them. Maybe you like to be very hands-on, or perhaps you like the idea of turning over the decision-making to a professional. Be sure the financial advisor you’re considering supports the way you’d like to partner together.
What Questions Should I Ask About Retirement Planning
5 MIN. READ
One of the most important decisions to make regarding your retirement is deciding whether you need help and, if you do, how to select an investment professional. Given the impact a quality financial advisor can have, who and how you select from the endless options available to you may determine how satisfied you are during your retirement years.
A comprehensive retirement plan can help you achieve your goals, however, that largely depends on getting good answers from an advisor who has your best interests in mind. As you begin to think more seriously about retirement and search for the advice of a financial advisor, its important to ask some key questions to help you understand the best path forward.
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What Experience And Professional Qualifications Do You Have
Youâll need to find out how long theyâve been working as a financial adviser and whether they hold a professional designation such as CFP or CFA . Another good idea is to ask if the adviser can provide you with testimonials from clients theyâve worked with.
Often finding an adviser is closer to home than you might think âask around family, friends or even work colleagues for suggestions. Remember that everyoneâs situation is different, but this is often a great place to start.
You can also check out MoneyHelper.
To find out more about financial advice, visit our Advice Makes Sense Hub.
When Do You Think That I Can Retire And What Are My Options
Any financial advisor worth their salt will be able to give you honest answers to these questions after they have had a chance to analyze your financial situation. A straightforward financial advisor will tell you if they dont think that you can safely retire for another 10 years, or if you can retire today.
For instance, say that you still carry a large amount of debt, such as a mortgage and student loans. Then a financial advisor might tell you to keep working for a while longer.
Even more importantly, a financial advisor should be able to tell you what your options are in retirement. Say that you have little in retirement savings and are looking to quit working in the next five years. Then they should talk to you about how you will need to keep working for at least five to ten years longer .
Should you have some money saved for retirement, then your advisor can provide you with a few possible scenarios showing how your finances could last after you stop working.
Not all those scenarios will likely appeal to you, but its the advisors job to be honest with you.
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Evaluation Question #: Am I Happy With My Financial Advisors Communication With Me
A great financial advisor should take the initiative to communicate with you, based on your preferences. And if you have to leave a barrage of voicemails and unreturned texts before they finally get back to you, thats not a good sign!
Every time you meet with your financial advisor, you should feel more knowledgeable and more empowered to make decisions about your investments. Thats one way to spot the truly great financial advisors: Theyre great teachers! If your current investment pro responds to your questions and concerns with eyerolls and half-hearted answers, its probably time to part ways.
Essential Questions To Ask Your Financial Advisor About Retirement
As you get closer to retirement, it becomes increasingly important to have in-depth conversations with your financial planner about the years ahead. Not only should you talk about different financial scenarios, but you should also speak honestly about your retirement goals and any concerns that may be on your mind.
Open the conversation with your personal financial advisor about retirement by asking the questions below. Start with a few big picture questions, then move onto more details about your goals, cash flow, taxes, and more.
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What Services Do You Offer
Ask a potential adviser to provide a summary of the services they provide. Most will offer a mix of financial planning, insurance planning, risk management, tax planning, retirement planning, investment selection, and management.
Because financial markets change constantly, itâs important to find out how regularly the adviser will review your portfolio. Regular reviews are important to keep your planning on track.
Finding The Right Financial Advisor For Your Retirement
As we can see, asking your financial advisor the right questions about retirement can help in many ways. They can help you see that advisors philosophy and whether they are a good match for you. You can better envision how that advisors unique experience and insights may help your personal situation.
These questions can help you in interviewing a variety of financial professionals and seeing which candidate seems the best fit for your personal needs. At the very least, dont ever feel pressured to move forward with a financial professional.
After all, this is the fruits of your lifes work, and your years of hard work, at stake. You should be comfortable that the financial professional to whom you entrust your money is the right partner for you.
Find the right financial professional, and it can do a world of economic good for you now, in the future, and for your loved ones.
If you are looking for someone to help you with your retirement and financial what-ifs, many independent financial professionals are available at SafeMoney.com to assist you.
Get started with our Find a Financial Professional section to connect with someone directly. You can request an initial appointment to discuss your goals, concerns, and explore a working relationship at no obligation. Should you need a personal referral, please call us at 877.476.9723.
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Are You A Fiduciary100% Of The Time
A fiduciary financial advisor is legally required to put your interest first.
A fiduciary is also prohibited from selling you financial products in return for a one-time commission.
Their compensation can only come from you .
It must be a transparent line item on your statement.
Ask a financial advisor if they are a fiduciary 100% of the time.
If youre interested in working with a fiduciary , its critical to ask the following question:
Are you a fiduciary 100% of the time?
Unfortunately, most financial advisors have to answerNO!
Thats because most advisors are dually registered.
A dually registered financial advisor can take their fiduciary hat on and off. They are not a fiduciary 100% of the time.
One day they are a fiduciary putting your interests first and the next they are trying to sell you an insurance product with hidden commissions.
A dually registered advisor can take their fiduciary hat on and off.
When a financial advisor acts as a fiduciary 100% of the time, you dont have to wonder if they are recommending an investment just to meet a sales quota.
When in doubt, ask your financial advisor or one you are considering to put their fiduciary status in writing.
What Is Your Investment Strategy
As we noted above, financial advisors are not interchangeable with investment managers. A financial advisor must be able to clearly articulate a strong point of view regarding how money should be invested. An advisor who cant describe this clearly and succinctly, or who says, it depends on the client, is likely not a person who serves as a true advisor. Instead, they may merely be an order taker someone who just does what the client tells them to do, or they may offer up a one-size fits all solution. Thats not what you want from a financial advisor.
Of course, theres nothing wrong with tweaking a portfolio say, swapping out one investment for another. But simply diversifying a portfolio is very different from shifting from options trading to municipal bonds to mutual funds. An advisor whose advice lacks long-term consistency should be removed from your consideration.
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