I know risk management is just another term for insurance. No one wants to read about insurance, much less buy more of it. Insurance however is just a way to share the risk. There are many risks we face and not all of them can be insured against. A good financial advisor will be able to articulate the risks and offer the ways to manage these risks.
2) Cash Flow
Face it, money is tight. The economy is not exactly roaring. One way a financial adviser can add value is to get a handle on your expenses. It won’t be their job to tell you what your budget is. That’s your job. A good advisor however will be able to tell you what the consequences of going off the reservation too far are. Day to day living expenses, saving for retirement and education and oh, paying for a little vacation all add up.
3) Tax Planning
The affluent know what damage taxes can do to their net-worth. Since the recession everyone is more attuned to taxes. A good advisor will have a strong grasp of the tax code and how to navigate it to manage your taxes.
4) Education Planning
College is very expensive. Recent college grads have had a difficult time getting jobs. Although I suspect the economy will improve over time, it will be very difficult for most young people to complete without some formal education after high school. Many parents just roll their eyes when they see they have to save some exorbitant amount of money for the next 18 years so Johnny can go to a nice college. A good advisor will just put that number away and ask what they can afford. Then just get started with that number. They know the importance of just getting started.
5) Retirement Planning
The tax code has a bewildering number of retirement plan options, particularly for the self-employed. For most investors funding a 401(k) plan at work and perhaps an IRA would be a very good start. A good advisor will explain the benefits of each and how to maximize your contributions to help you acheive an anticipated long term after-tax result.
6) Estate Planning
Estate planning is not just for the rich. It’s for everyone. People just need to ask themselves a simple question, “Who gets my stuff when I die?” Even more importantly, if you were to pass away with minor children, who would be their guardian? Believe me; you don’t want the local probate court making this decision for you. Due to the increase in the Federal Estate Tax Exclusion, very few people are subject to the estate tax now. Savvy financial advisors know that it’s not all about the taxes. It’s about people not only passing on their assets but also their values.
The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the forgoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Thomas F. Scanlon, CPA, CFP and not those necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Tax preparation and accounting services are provided by Borgida & Company, P.C., not as a service of Raymond James. You should discuss your tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation.