The following is a contributed post.
Financial advisors aren’t only for wealthy people. Anyone with financial goals can benefit by enlisting the help of a financial planner.
Just like you’d visit a dentist to keep your teeth healthy and a psychologist to keep your mind healthy, a financial planner can help keep your finances healthy. This is especially true when it comes to certain milestones in one’s life. Here are five times in your life you’d be wise to meet with a financial advisor.
Starting a Career After College
Post-graduation is a daunting time for anyone. Between the looming student loan payments and beginning a career, this is a time in anyone’s life when it’s easy to feel lost when it comes to finances.
Meeting with a financial planner at this life stage in your life can set you on the right track to a healthy financial future. It’s best to meet with a financial advisor once you’ve accepted a new job, but before you have signed off on all of your benefits paperwork.
Here are a few things recent graduates should discuss with a financial advisor:
- Student Loans. Decide how you will pay these off and then set goals for completing your loan payments based on your new income. You may also consider consolidating loans at this time.
- Benefits Package. In addition to standard health insurance benefits, your job may offer other opportunities to contribute funds, like life insurance, investment options, and a pension plan. Determine how much you want to contribute to both your mandatory and optional funds.
- Tax Withholding. Make sure you’ve selected the proper tax withholding amount. Otherwise, you may owe money come April 15th.
It’s also important to meet with your financial planner when you change jobs to discuss your options for rolling past contributions over into your new employer funds.
Buying or Selling Property
Regardless of the price, purchasing or selling a home or investment property is complicated. A financial planner can walk you through the process and help you weigh risks involved with buying or selling.
Knowing the right type of mortgage to choose is a daunting task on its own, but there are plenty of other costs that come along with real estate transactions. They can also guide your decisions when it comes to costs like home insurance, closing fees, and real estate taxes.
One of the less romantic parts of getting married is discussing finances with your soon-to-be spouse. This can be an uncomfortable conversation to have before the big day, but a financial advisor can walk you through the steps needed to plan a lifetime of financial harmony.
Before you get married, consider these questions:
- Do we need a prenuptial agreement?
- How will we merge our finances?
- Will money management be a join effort?
- What are our long-term financial goals as a couple?
Becoming a parent is certainly a life-changing event. Parenthood can also turn into a financial burden if you don’t plan correctly. Quite simply, kids cost a lot of money. It’s estimated that the average family will spend $241,080 to raise a child until age 18. (And that’s just one child!).
Turn to a financial advisor for help with:
- Saving for your child’s college fund.
- Setting aside an emergency fund so you can continue providing for your family during a crisis.
- Detailing how your children will be cared for financially in the event of your death. You and your advisor can team up with an attorney to outline this in your will.
Planning Your Retirement
Some employers offer pension plans or contribution-matching programs that help you save toward retirement. If you’re not given these options, or if you want to invest more toward your retirement, a financial advisor can help guide you through investing for your long-term retirement goals.
For example, investing in an annuity is a popular choice for people who want to receive a steady stream of income once they retire. These are complex investments and should be acquired with the help of a financial planner. You can also use tools like an annuity calculator to see if this is a good investment for your retirement.
Lastly, do your due diligence before selecting a financial planner. Always look for an advisor who is a Certified Financial Planner and part of a professional organization. Also be sure to ask for references from past clients. All financial planners charge a fee for their services, but as you see this is a small cost for a healthy financial future.
Benjamin Miller is a prolific freelance writer who has published articles covering most all niches. Aside from writing, which is his chief passion, he also loves football and playing out in the park with his two kids.