Planning for your financial future takes a lot of work, but relatively few people can dedicate the necessary time to keep abreast of new legislation and financial products that could alter your plans. Whether you have just begun planning for your financial future or want to be sure you are still on track, hiring a certified financial professional can give you insight into wealth management and retirement planning you may not have considered and reduce much of the burden that comes with going it alone. However, before hiring a financial professional in Flagstaff, Arizona, there are a few things you should consider
When to Seek Out Financial Advice
If you have never worked with a financial professional, you may even wonder if it is necessary to start working with one now. If you are new to financial planning or have taken on a DIY approach to wealth management in the past, it is even reasonable to ask, “what does a financial professional do that I can’t do myself,” or even “what is a financial professional?”
When you work with an experienced and qualified financial professional, they will help you meet your long-term financial goals as well as your current and mid-term financial needs. Though you can choose to work with a financial professional on a one-time basis to get their insight and advice on a particular topic, many of the best financial professionals will establish long-term relationships with their clients, which allows them more suitable professional help to achieve their goals.
Everyone should develop a long-term financial plan to help them achieve their financial goals, such as buying a home, funding college tuition for their children or grandchildren, saving for their retirement, and growing their wealth. But there are certain events that frequently prompt people here in Flagstaff, AZ, and across the country to seek out financial advice for the first time.
There is no wrong time to seek advice to begin planning for you and your family’s future. But, if you find yourself in one of these scenarios without a long term financial plan, you should consider hiring a financial professional a top priority:
- You are recently married or are planning to get married
- You have recently inherited or won money or valuables, or you received a large sum of money or valuables as a gift
- You began working a full-time job for the first time or after a pause in your career
- You have recently been divorced or widowed
- You are nearing retirement age and are not sure if you have saved enough to retire or have made changes to your retirement plans
- You have launched a new business or are closing a business
- Or any other reason. There is no wrong time (or wrong reason) to seek the advice of a financial professional and make sure your wealth management plans are still on track to ensure you reach your financial goals.
Know What Your Financial Needs Are
Whether you are meeting with a financial professional for the first time or need to discuss changes in your circumstances with your existing financial professional, you should be prepared to discuss your current and future financial needs.
Your financial professional needs to understand more than just your short-term plans or future goals. The best financial professionals can create a plan that helps you achieve your goals, but they will need to have a clear picture of your current financial needs as well as any obstacles or other variables that may exist along the way. When you speak with a financial professional, they will likely offer some guidance to help you gather all the financial information they are looking for, which will likely include some or all of the following items:
- Pay stubs for you and your spouse, if applicable
- Copies of your mortgage and other debt statements
- Copies of your recent tax returns
- Your monthly budget, including all of your family’s fixed and variable expenses
- Details of any passive income streams you may have
- Profit and loss statements for your business, if applicable
- Statements from your banking and investment accounts
- Investment plan statements for your 401(k) or other retirement accounts
While it might take some time and effort on your part to gather all this information, it can also help you gain greater insight into your budget and overall financial landscape. It will also give your financial professional the information they need to understand your spending patterns and goals better so they can determine areas where you may be able to save more and build a plan based on the amount you can realistically save and invest each month.
How a Financial Professional Can Help
While some financial professionals focus on one area, such as investing or retirement planning, many certified financial professionals have a broad range of experience. These financial professionals are well-versed in many areas and aspects of wealth management and personal finance and can offer wide-ranging financial services and support, including:
- Helping you develop a budget to meet your current financial needs, help you pay down debt, and save for the future
- Creating a comprehensive financial plan to help you achieve goals in several major areas of financial concern, such as college planning, retirement planning, insurance, and estate planning.
- Providing advice to deal with unexpected financial obstacles or windfalls.
- Setting up and managing investment accounts.
- Recommending appropriate financial vehicles that may help you achieve financial goals.
Though some individuals and families wish to avoid the cost of a financial professional and instead use DIY or automated financial planning tools, there are significant downsides to this one-size-fits-all approach. Most significantly, one size only rarely fits any, let alone all.
When you work with a certified financial professional who has a complete view of your financial reality, they are able to tailor your wealth management plan to your specific needs. This comprehensive approach allows them to identify the best financial, insurance, and investment vehicles for you, along with tax-reducing strategies and other savings that DIY and automated planners miss.
At Benefit and Financial Strategies in Flagstaff, Arizona, we offer a range of financial planning services to help individuals and families save for the future and achieve their wealth management goals. We have been helping our clients achieve their financial goals since 1988 with a proactive, personalized approach. Whether you are looking for one-time advice or a long-term partner to help you shape your financial future, contact us today. We look forward to working with you.