How to Find and Partner with a Financial Advisor
In the past, we have spent some time finding resources to help pay for health care and assistance in filling in gaps in income. Still, I feel strongly about the benefits of working with a financial advisor/planner. Even though we are all responsible for our finances few have even the basic skills necessary to put together a complete financial roadmap. I think this is a huge failing of our educational system. This is fundamentally the most important step to improve and secure you and your family's financial lives no matter if you are just starting out working, have young children, children who are preparing for or graduating from college, or you are anticipating retirement or have a chronic illness. This is a must for everyone! Especially if you have a chronic illness.
Many people think they can do it on their own. The reality is very few can, unless you are trained in the area and have the time to keep up with economic and industry trends. I would be remiss if I didn’t include some skepticism many people have with the financial planning industry. Everyone has heard about some scams. However, if you do your due diligence, you have nothing to worry about.
Here is what separates a transactional advisor from an advisor that looks at your entire financial picture both currently and in the future. A transactional advisor doesn’t take the time to determine if the advice they are giving you for an investment is in your best interest, neither now or in the future. They also don’t take into account how that investment/advice works with your future goals or needs or with or against your other assets. Hence, even though it sounds good right now it may be expensive to get out of later if it doesn’t fit your needs. However, a financial advisor and planner will take the time to get to know how you feel about money, what you want your money to do in relation to real achievable goals. when you need money, for what reason, how to manage taxes, where the weaknesses are in your plan and how to fix them. You would be surprised at the gaps they can uncover and help you address before they become an issue. Even better, the advice doesn't stop, it is ongoing. " Failing to plan is really, planning to fail."
You, as a person with cancer, are aware of the hit your savings account can and probably will take as a result of your long-term treatment. Also, depending on where you are in your life cycle, immediate reduction or future loss of household income can wreak havoc on your financial goals. Additionally, in all my years as a financial advisor, it was rare to find out during the planning process that spouses had the same financial goals or viewed money the same. So, even though you may have discussed some vague future plans without formal hard planning, chances are, you will end up falling short. Falling short as a result of waiting too late to make a financial move, not making a move at all, not anticipating emergencies, not saving in the right investment instruments for the right timeframe or goal, not understanding the different types of risk that must all be accounted for in your investment portfolio or savings, income or insurance programs.
A good financial advisor can manage your fear and excitement no matter the market. He or she will have properly matched your needs, goals, timeframe, risk tolerance, investment experience/knowledge, and accounted for unforeseen events to prevent your plan from derailing.
What do you look for in a financial advisor/planner? You first need to understand the different types of advisors.
- Robo Advisors: These are digital service offerings. Very simplified and low-cost option. No personal contact. They have lower account minimums and lower entry amounts. Not at all holistic planning.
- Online Financial Advisors: Next step up from a Robo Advisor. You have access to a virtual advisor. Some automated investment management like the Robo Advisor. However, you get to consult with a team of financial advisors when you have questions. This is more in line with a traditional financial advisor. The cost is more than Robo and offers varied account minimums.
- Traditional Financial Advisors: This group would include certified financial planners, stockbrokers, registered investment advisors, financial consultants, and wealth managers. One person can have more than one of these titles. Generally, you will meet with these advisors in person. They have a higher cost structure and higher minimums. They also have different cost structures and service options. These advisors are good when you need specialized services when your financial needs are complex and you want to meet in person. These advisors are Fiduciaries. They only have your best interest at heart. Look for one who is:
- Clean Professional Background
- Offer the Services you are looking for
Don’t hesitate to call and schedule an appointment. Interview them. Any advisor worth his or her salt will offer a free meeting. Ask questions about how they work, how they charge, their level of personal service.
Ultimately, you need to be able to trust that they always have your best interest at the forefront. You will work collaboratively with them and they will help educate you. They will keep up with changes n your life and make adjustments when needed with your permission and understanding.
A good place to start is financialaddvisor.net. Ask friends if they use one. Referrals are usually good sources. Don't forget to check Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker check for any reported issues with the advisor you will be seeing. I encourage everyone to find an advisor. If you need additional help finding one and need help with the questions to vet them, call me, I will be glad to help.
Diahanna Vallentine, BCPA
If you have questions about how to navigate the financial impact of having myeloma, consider reaching out to a Myeloma Coach. There are many who have experience in financial resources, including Financial Coach Diahanna Vallentine. You can view all Myeloma Coaches and their areas of experience on our website: www.myelomacoach.org If you have successfully navigated the financial impact of myeloma treatment and would like to share what you've learned with others- consider becoming a Myeloma Coach.
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