- We all love to tinker, but there are times when it makes sense to seek professional financial help.
- If you want to retire or send your child to college, a CFP can help you achieve these goals.
- If you’ve stumbled upon a bargain, speak to a professional early to understand your tax situation.
We’re a do-it-yourself culture that places a high value on doing everything from home renovations to day trading ourselves. But not everyone is a financial whiz, and it’s okay to consult an expert when you’re confused.
Michael Garry, financial planner, self-proclaimed “recovery lawyer” and founder and CEO of Yardley Wealth Management, has outlined seven situations when you should talk to a financial planner.
1. You are anticipating a major life event, such as a new child or the loss of a job
To really enjoy a happy event like a birth or a wedding, or to reduce the stress of losing a job, get help from a financial planner.
Garry notes that a financial planner can help you plan “big, expensive, life-changing events that people don’t know whether they can afford or not.” And figuring out the money in advance can save you a lot of stress later.
2. You get a windfall: inheritance, IPO, lottery win!
Lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy and 70% spend all their winnings within five years. Without proper money management, one-time financial payouts like an inheritance, an employer buyout, winning the lottery, or an IPO can make your life worse rather than better. Even wealthy people can find themselves broke without good financial advice.
Garry suggests talking to a financial planner before doing anything with a deal, especially if money is new to you. “Many choices of what you do will determine the taxes you pay,” he says. And how much you owe in taxes will determine how much you have left after tax.
Plus, tips can help put money into perspective. “Sometimes it would take a stranger like a financial advisor or even a CPA,” says Garry, to help you figure out if a large sum of money is really enough to change a life.
3. You had a sudden change in your financial situation that you don’t understand
Here’s the situation: you can no longer pay your credit card bills at the end of the month, although this has never been a problem before. Or, on the other hand, your bank account balance is going up even if you don’t do anything different. Either way, it’s worth knowing what’s going on.
“It might be a lot easier for a financial planner to find the root of this than for a lot of clients,” Garry says.
Common causes of financial mysteries are a change in tax withholding or the amount taken from your paycheck for benefits. Garry notes that tracking these items isn’t in everyone’s wheelhouse, but it’s easy for a seasoned financial professional to uncover the cause of the change and help develop a plan to bring you back into balance. economic.
4. You’re doing well with money, but you can’t explain why.
Garry notes that many people manage their finances very well: working regularly, saving, investing and taking advantage of company matching programs. But this does not guarantee your future financial health.
“We’ve mostly had bull markets since the 80s,” he says. “People could be in great shape just by going to work all the time.” Your money continued to grow until you bailed out during a recession.
“But it might not always be so easy in the future,” says Garry. In uncertain markets, sound financial advice can help protect your investments.
This is especially true if you are nearing retirement. “If you’re a few years away from retirement or your planned retirement age,” – 55 or older – “and you’ve never sat down with anyone to discuss your finances, I think this would be really revealing.” You may find that you need to increase your retirement contributions or work a few extra years to fund a comfortable life in retirement.
Use Insider’s calculator to see if you’re on track for a comfortable retirement by answering a few questions about yourself, your savings, and how long you plan to keep working.
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*Need is based on coverage of 70% of your annual pre-retirement income and a life expectancy of 100 years.
5. You want to retire one day
Yes, that’s pretty much everyone. As noted above, stumbling into retirement without having a clear idea of your financial needs and resources is risky.
You don’t want to find out at 58 that you’ve done wrong and aren’t ready for retirement. The best time to develop a retirement plan is therefore well before you retire.
For example, Garry points out that paying a child’s college tuition can eat into your retirement savings. It could be fine, as long as you have a plan to fill the hole.
If you don’t realize you’re running out of retirement savings until after you’ve left the workforce, he notes that getting back to work can be difficult. After a few years of no work experience, finding a job that pays anything close to what you were earning before might be difficult, if not impossible. That’s why it’s essential to understand your retirement income before you stop working.
6. You send a child to college
Garry has first-hand knowledge of the pain of student loans. Law school left her $90,000 in debt, and her first child was born two weeks after graduation. He had to work nights in a bar during his early years as a lawyer to make ends meet.
He doesn’t want the same for his children, so he had a candid conversation with his youngest daughter about the tuition fees at her first-choice school versus the income she could expect from the career she had. chosen.
He calculated how much he could contribute to her education, how much debt she would have to take on, and her monthly repayments after graduation. The heavy debt would have taken a big bike out of his salary and could have allowed him to live at home. Armed with this information, she chose an excellent state university, loved her school, and was able to graduate debt-free.
Garry thinks parents have a responsibility to clarify student debt finances because “these are numbers without context” for an 18-year-old.
Decision time in college is a critical time to sit down with a financial planner and understand the ramifications of different school choices. It’s a decision that can have a substantial financial impact on parents and student long after graduation.
7. You are worried or stressed about your finances.
Garry thinks financial stress is the number one reason for seeking professional help. “[If] you can’t sleep or you’re very nervous, and it’s on your mind all the time, so you should talk to a financial planner,” he says.
In most cases, he finds that people know what the problem is, but they don’t know how to fix it. It could be monthly payments you can’t afford or an employer buy-out that’s enough to take you into retirement.
For people whose stress comes from overwhelming debt, the fees of a financial planner can be unaffordable. This doesn’t mean you can’t get help; many free or low-cost credit counseling services offer services to help people understand their finances and find solutions to money problems.