One of our longest-tenured advisors came to me to discuss the number of people who come in for their first appointments who are already working with another advisory firm.
We encourage these (fact finding) appointments because, when it comes to your money, your retirement and your future, you should get multiple opinions so that you have as much information as possible.
Really, there is no downside.
But what’s most concerning about so many of these first-time appointments is that, despite their having paid for the services of an “advisor”, sometimes for several years, many of these folks have neveronce received an ounce of retirement planning advice or guidance, in return.
This can leave you woefully unprepared for retirement, no matter how well your investments have done.
All too often, people pay someone who calls themselves a financial planner, a retirement planner, or an advisor (often paying more hidden fees and commissions than they realize), and the entirety of what they are getting in return is merely commission-based (and commission-motivated) investment advice.
Simply, they are being sold investments and nothing else.
There are several reasons this should be a giant red flag.
My belief is, that if I wrote about this topic every week, it still might not be often enough. That’s why we take every opportunity possible to explain what makes a good advisor, and how to find one who will add value to your life. We regularly discuss this topic on our financial topic radio program, Money Matters, we’ve written about it in articles and blogs, in our How to Select a Financial Advisor guide, and, finally, it was the basis for our popular webinar, Lies, Levis and Lawsuits.
All of these materials are available to you 24/7, for free, on our website.
What is retirement planning, and how does it benefit you?
Besides savvy investment management advice, here are 5 reasons why pre-retirees and retirees should work with an advisor who does comprehensive retirement planning:
1) We work with you to set attainable goals
We want you to achieve everything you’ve ever dreamed of accomplishing. From determining how much you need to save, to understanding your true net worth, to savvy, state-of-the-art investment management and portfolio construction that helps your savings principal last, we help you set, and achieve, attainable goals that can improve your life, not only today, but for many years to come.
2) Appraise your insurance needs
While licensed to, we don’t sell life insurance. That means, when we advise you to go out and shop for insurance, it’s because we believe it will protect you, and not because it will in any way benefit us.
Conversely, many pre-retirees and retirees no longer need life insurance. Are you over-insured and wasting money? Are you at risk of losing everything in a lawsuit? We’ll let you know.
3) Appraise your true financial health
What are your debts, taxes, savings, and income in relation to what you want to achieve in retirement? How long is left on your mortgage? Sometimes, a person with $1 million and no debt is in a better position to reach their financial goals than a person with $3 million, a large mortgage, debt, and a more expensive lifestyle.
We work with you to figure out what you have, what you will have, when you can retire, and how long your assets should last once you stop working.
4) Work closely with you as your life changes
Sometimes, you can afford that new house and keep all of your retirement accounts and investments intact. Other times, it’s simply a matter of moving assets or taking different distribution amounts to make it happen. Sometimes, however, it may be a bad time to upgrade your home.
It’s always your choice, but how do you really know what you can afford without the benefit of an unbiased opinion?
5) Appraise your ongoing estate planning and tax planning needs
We are neither estate planning attorneys nor tax attorneys. When it comes down to filing your taxes, or delegating your estate, you’ll need to speak with certified experts in those respective fields. However, we’ve saved numerous clients thousands, even tens-of-thousands of dollars, and we’ve protected our clients’ interests, by making timely recommendations (such as the sequencing of the “draw down” of your retirement accounts) about their savings, estates and investments.
Estate planning and tax planning? These are big ones.
That’s because when it comes to taxes, it matters a lot when you take your distributions, how much you take, and in what state. And that’s just for starters.
As for protecting your beneficiaries, there are important distinctions between living trusts, wills, or having no will, at all.
You must know the difference.
The complexities of tax and estate planning are nearly endless, and the government has no sense of humor when you make a mistake. Work with a credentialed advisor who does retirement planning to help you plan ahead, and in the process you’ll likely save yourself, and your family, precious money and needless heartache.
We understand that good advising begins with sound investment management. But because modern retirement is more technically complex, because it lasts longer, and because it’s costlier than at any time in history, people who settle for mere investment management, and forgo comprehensive retirement planning, are doing themselves a huge disservice.
If you’ve never met with a Allworth Financial advisor, and you’ve been working with a firm or individual who seems uninterested (or unqualified) in helping you plan and manage your entire financial future, we encourage you to make an appointment, today.