Where to Turn for Financial Advice

Where to Turn for a Free Financial Advice

Sound financial advice is an important piece of the puzzle in successful money and asset management. Accurate information from a trusted source is a priceless commodity for achieving desired financial goals. With specific and creative strategies in place, a wealthy person can avoid taking financial risks and losing money. On the other hand, a financial advisor can be of assistance in designing a blueprint to building wealth over the long-term for clients with a modest initial investment.

Mostly everyone has their own list of long and short-term goals when it comes to their money. However, no two financial pictures look alike; there are a number of variables that affect how each individual should manage their money and other. Likewise, the sources of financial advice available vary in scope of information, services offered, and costs.

With so much at stake, choosing where to turn for financial advice involves taking time to investigate reliable sources of advice. 

What Financial Advisors Offer

A financial advisor is essentially a person or company that helps people achieve their goals by utilizing a customized financial plan. Most consumers think that expert financial planners only assist with making investment decisions. While they definitely provide comprehensive investment and brokerage services, financial advisors offer essential guidance in making other decisions related to personal money management issues, such as:

  • Creating a savings plan 
  • Setting retirement goals
  • Debt management 
  • Estate planning decisions
  • Tax information and advice

Professional financial advisors offer various focused specialties, education levels, and backgrounds. Some are proficient and experienced in working with people who are new to the language and rules of personal financial management. There are also advisors that work solely with very wealthy individuals, corporations, or deal with other specific types of clients or products. 

Changes in Financial Circumstances

Wealth is a normal lifestyle for millions of people who wisely use financial advisors to help with money and asset management. Other people, although not wealthy, seek financial advice because they have specific assets that they don’t want to put at financial risk. Still others manage average checking and savings accounts just fine. Quite often, an unexpected life event will trigger a sudden need for the average consumer to seek financial advice as the result of:

  • the need to save for college when a child is born
  • managing the proceeds of a large state lottery winning
  • inability to manage finances due to physical or mental health changes 
  • receipt of a large inheritance or other financial windfall
  • financial concerns due to approaching retirement 

Finding a financial advisor for the first time can be a confusing process. Most banks have advisors on hand for existing customers, which is a convenient option. However, the scope of advice that banks offer varies with the regulations of the specific institution. There are also tons of financial advice companies which advertise their services on television, radio, and the internet. It is extremely important to research a number of companies and compare detailed information about fees, reputation, and services. There may also be a friend or family member who knows a reputable advisor they can recommend.

Tax Advice

Some people get help from financial advisors only to navigate ever-changing tax rules. Although the need for professional tax advice tends to be greater as wealth increases, some people simply have no idea how to handle their taxes even though they are not rich. Financial advisors that specialize in taxes can provide information about how taxes impact the individual’s finances and make suggestions on minimizing tax burdens.

A professional financial advisor should know the tax laws that apply to the jurisdiction in which they do business. The advisor can guide their client in making decisions such as legal charitable donations or lowering their tax burdens. They will also advise whether an investment should be made based only on its tax implications.

Investing & Trading in the Stock Market

Your financial advisor is also someone you can consult about investing your money in the stock market. There are so many options to invest in, from mutual funds to stocks, different investment accounts and risk levels, that it is important to carefully explore all the potential opportunities and choose the right strategy for you.

If you wish to learn more, consider this beginner guide on buying stocks and get familiar with the basis.

Retiree Health Care

A retired couple may need about $285,000 in after tax savings to pay for expenses related to health care, according to Fidelity Investments, Inc., a global financial service corporation.

This figure can go higher or lower, depending on health status, age at retirement, and other factors.  How can retirees prepare in advance to have enough money for medicine, doctor bills and other health expenses as they age? 

A financial advisor is knowledgeable in what is needed to prepare for health care expenses after retirement. The professional will explain what options are available for long-term care insurance as well as estate planning essentials. The optimal time to choose a health care plan is long before the years it will be needed the most. An advisor can guide clients in choosing the type of savings account that will work with their circumstances and budget, such as RRSP or others. Financial advisors are also experts in working with clients to protect their wealth until retirement and making choices about retirement savings and Social Security withdrawals.

Budgeting and Debt Management

Another important service offered by financial advisors is to remind clients of the big financial picture and to keep their future needs in mind. This includes providing information and encouragement to save money in order to reach long-term goals, even if it means sacrificing or delaying the purchase of a nonessential luxury. A well-developed budget plan keeps savers on track to save money to reach goals such as:

Buying a new house

Having cash to pay for a child’s college tuition

Saving sufficient money to enjoy the retirement years

Taking a dream vacation

Managing current debt is an equally important part of meeting and exceeding personal finance objectives. Financial advisors are able to explain the many advantages of living life without the burden of heavy debt. However, they do encourage clients to tackle their debt first before setting future goals. Getting debt under control should be a priority before considering investment, savings, or other services of a financial advisor.

Free financial advice is widely available from a variety of sources. Friends or family members with experience in successful money management are usually willing to share information. Some banks and financial institutions provide some level of financial advice to account holders. Increasing numbers of employers with retirement plans also offer tools to support workers in learning how to make sound savings decisions. Many online brokers publish free and low-cost classes on investing money.

Although free financial advice is available, it does not always meet every economic need or issue. Complex financial situations, especially for beginners, should be discussed with a professional financial advisor. Advisors are trained in the specific steps necessary to maintain financial health. Most are willing to meet for a consultation before they are retained to offer some advice about actions that will be needed to execute a financial plan.

There are a number of unique factors that will determine where to turn for financial advice. Not everyone needs a professional advisor. Yet all people must have some form of personal money management in place – whether they consider themselves poor, rich, or somewhere in between. There are no shortcuts to creating a solid financial picture. A lack of some form of focused and intentional financial planning, with or without assistance, increases the chances that the future will bring financial uncertainty. 

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Sheila Kay

Author

Sheila Kay is an author, ghostwriter and editor residing in the Atlanta, GA area. Among her favorite writing genres are creative nonfiction, self-improvement, and finances. Her first published book, PTSD and the Undefeated Me, is a memoir which has been a stepping stone to her involvement with mental health advocacy for military and civilian men and women. She is currently working on the first fiction novel to be published under her name. For more information or to purchase her books, visit Sheila’s Author Page on Amazon.com.

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