Do you really need a Financial Advisor? In this guide we’ll help you find out when and when not to start looking.
You’re about to retire and your 401(k) and other investments have grown over the years to where you think you’ll have enough to retire comfortably.
You’ve talked to a few friends who have retired recently and they’re telling you great things about the financial advisors they hired to help them manage their funds in retirement.
But one question keeps, going through your mind, “Do I really need a financial advisor?”
Watch this to find out.
I will be the first to tell you that not everyone needs a financial advisor and that it really depends on your situation.
Let me start with a few examples.
I recently met a couple who had built a nice bond ladder and were simply living off the interest. There weren’t any moving parts, and nothing needed to be changed. Why bother paying an advisor?
It’s hard to generalize, but I will try to give you some useful examples of people who probably don’t need an advisor.
Reason 1 – When your main asset is a pension.
Probably the most obvious couple who didn’t need an advisor was a pair of retired teachers from the Midwest.
They had very little in their retirement accounts but had great pensions. With their guaranteed monthly incomes, there was no way they were going to run out of money. And as a bonus, they could even handle costs associated with a health issue purely from their pension income alone.
Their accounts weren’t of a significant size for them to need a manager so we give them some free advice and sent them on their way.
Reason 2 – The Passionate Investor
We have run into countless people who really have a passion for managing their own money.
They come in because a friend or a relative tells them they have to, but they truly enjoy doing the research, staying up with current financial markets and trends and spending the time to learn what they need to know and implement every day, week or month. For the most part these people don’t need a financial advisor.
There are two important exceptions here.
The first one is that you need to be very careful where you do your research, and don’t just stick to one source. Clients are constantly concerned and sending us doom and gloom articles from a “prominent financial expert” who was fined by the SEC for defrauding and misleading investors.
In my opinion, he and his firm haven’t changed their ways, so you really have to make sure you’re getting advice from the right source.
The second exception here is a tougher one to recognize and overcome.
That is emotion.
When faced by a crisis, will you make the wrong move with your finances?
The tough part is most people don’t or can’t know the answer to that one in advance. Another financial crisis will hit, and you might have been still working the last time one hit. Your mindset will be different ten years into retirement than when you were working. Before, you could simply delay retirement if you made the wrong call. Once you’re retired for ten years, it may not be possible to go back to work if your investments fall apart.
That’s why it’s critical you can control your emotions and that of your spouse when dealing with these potentially life-altering decisions.
Reason 3 – The Wealthy
I already talked about the people with a big pension and little assets, but oddly enough, you can also argue that people with huge amounts of assets don’t need a financial advisor.
If you have enough saved and a modest enough lifestyle that there’s no possible way you could run out of money, then a financial advisor is not necessary.
Even if you’re so bad at making investment choices that your portfolio loses money every year in retirement, you could be rich enough that it simply doesn’t matter. Of course, your heirs might prefer it if you hire a competent advisor but at that point, it really comes down to what you value most. If you want to make sure you leave money to your children, then it can definitely be a positive to get a second opinion.
If you do all the right research, find yourself to be qualified to manage your income stream in retirement, and feel confident that you can go it alone, make sure to take a step back and ask yourself this question annually.
Am I prepared for things changing?
We actually have a retired Certified Financial Planner as a client because she recognizes that her knowledge is out of date since she retired and she can’t keep up with current markets and investment products.
In addition as some people age, their interest and ability to manage their finances might dwindle. Don’t do your family the disservice of not doing this analysis every year.
So, do you need an advisor?
In the end it really comes down to your skill level, how important your wealth is for your income, and your history controlling your emotions.
If you can manage all the above without a problem then you probably don’t need one.
If you don’t feel confident, have issues making decisions, and the market keeps you up at night and you want a guide. That’s when an Advisor really matters most.
And if you need to talk to someone who will give you an honest opinion? Then give us a call. That’s what being a fiduciary is all about. Putting your interests first no matter the situation.
Until next time,
Alex and Robin.
In the next installment in “Choosing the Right Financial Advisor for You,” we cover the advisors you should avoid and why we are so passionate about this.
See you there.