Got a good grip on your finances for today, tomorrow and the rest of your life? Neither do we. But we know who can help: a financial advisor.
Financial advisors are educated professionals who analyze your financial health, identify potential gaps and provide the tools to help you make decisions to meet your short- and long-term financial goals. While you may feel confident about managing money on your own, an advisor can take an objective look at an often emotionally charged topic. Just as you might call attorneys, doctors or auto mechanics because of their education and expertise, a financial advisor has the skills to help you make the most of your financial life.
Here are six scenarios that could be cause to call in a pro.
1. Just starting out. If you’re out of school and entering the full-time workforce for the first time, you may need to plan goals like creating a workable budget, paying off student debt and saving for a down payment on a home. An advisor can help you start on the right foot.
2. Out of control. If you feel your financial life is getting beyond your control—maybe you have growing debt, no savings or simply have trouble managing your day-to-day cash flow—it’s time to get a professional opinion on why your finances are out of hand. Advisors don't need you to "have it together;" in fact, it’s just the opposite. They can help you tame your finances no matter what shape you’re in.
3. And baby makes…If you’re further along in life, you likely have other responsibilities—and potential worries. If you have kids, chances are you’re concerned about paying for their education, let alone their upbringing. You might wonder if you and your spouse or partner have enough life insurance (just in case) or if you’re making the most of tax rules. Your advisor can help you navigate these concerns with advice on investments, retirement planning and (later on) estate planning.
4. Nothin’ but debt. You may find yourself living a lifestyle that exceeds your income. Maybe you’re frequently using credit cards for general purchases but unable to pay the balance in full each month. Perhaps unexpected expenses seem to always come up and force you to pay with plastic. These could be signs that it’s time to get outside help. A financial advisor can pinpoint where your money is going and help you get organized. They can show you how short-term expenditures impact your long-term goals, and get you back on track.
5. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. If you’ve experienced a major life change such as marriage, birth (or adoption) of children or loss of a spouse or other loved one, don’t wait for things to "settle down" on their own to start planning (they never seem to). A financial advisor can help you make wise financial decisions amid the chaos—and help you get on with your life.
6. You’re not rich (or famous). Financial advisors are like personal trainers for your finances—no matter how many zeroes are on your bank statement. Qualified advisors will help you determine the right path to get you from where you are to where you want to be. They’ll help you negotiate the tough financial aspects of life, and keep you accountable so you can feel comfortable about your future.
Many people think financial advisors merely make the rich richer—but a qualified pro can help you at any stage of your financial life. It can be hard to admit you need help, but the alternative can be a hard, costly lesson. Take pride in your determination to master your money, and take advantage of what a financial advisor can teach you: solid skills you can use for a lifetime.