If you’re like most people, you probably contribute to some kind of employer-sponsored retirement plan. Still, you wonder, am I doing enough? Is it time I found a retirement adviser to help me make sure I can live comfortably when I retire? Is a retirement adviser worth it? The answer is – it depends.
It’s Up to You
Some people relish the chance to do it all themselves. There are plenty of online tools to help if that’s what you want to do. There are numerous and, mostly free, online calculators and resources to figure out where you stand and help you decide what to do next. But if investing and keeping up with the latest financial news is not your strong suit, you might want to consider finding an expert retirement adviser. Retirement manager fees aside, an effective adviser is trained to help you prepare for the future.
What Does a Retirement Adviser Do?
Contrary to the title, a retirement adviser does more than help you plan for retirement. Retiring with enough money to live a comfortable life is the goal, but to get there, the adviser has to consider every aspect of your financial picture. Services often include estate planning, planning for your children’s college tuition and expenses, debt management, cash flow, investment strategies and tax planning. It may be that you’re doing fine in some aspects and not so good in other. That’s where a retirement adviser can help. An expert’s trained objective eye can spot where you’re falling short, what you need to improve and give you a plan of action to move forward. And, an expert can keep you from making emotional moves when the heat is on.
Don’t Be Shy
If you are considering a retirement adviser, it’s up to you to find the expert you can work with, trust and who provides the services your situation requires. How do you find the right adviser? Have a face-to-face meeting and ask these questions:
- What are you going to do for me? Ask what services the retirement adviser provides for the fees you pay. Will the financial manager help you with navigating taxes, contributions, retirement age planning, save for health care costs and more? Get the specifics about how the adviser is compensated as well.
- Will you provide a comprehensive retirement plan for me? Not all retirement advisers provide a comprehensive retirement plan. Advisers who do are often called “holistic” retirement advisers. Comprehensive plans include preparing for long-term health care costs and Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions. If the adviser does not provide a complete retirement plan, you can pull together a team that includes the adviser, an estate planning attorney, tax professional, investment adviser and insurance expert. That way you’re covered no matter what happens.
- What type of education, training and credentials do you have? Does the adviser have professional industry designation from the CFP®, ChFC®, CLU® and/or RICP®? Online resources can help you verify credentials as well as find professionals in your area.
- Can you provide references? References and testimonials give you the information to determine if the adviser has worked successfully with others in a similar financial situation.