For the best finances possible, you always want to have a conversation with an advisor. Like going to a doctor to improve your health, or a mechanic to get your vehicle to optimal performance, talking to an advisor helps you get your finances in tip-top shape. So while we are addressing 5 life changes here, you should make it a habit of talking to your advisor just as regularly as you would see your doctor to make sure your finances are allowing you to reach your goals and attain the things you value. However, when simply getting a paycheck and having a comfortable life isn't your only concern, take note of the following life changes to have a talk with a fiduciary financial advisor about.
Life Change: Career Change
Are you fresh out of college or after a gap year and have finally secured a job that you've been waiting for? Have you received a new job offer that’s offering you a larger paycheck? Perhaps you have decided to leave the corporate world all together and start something on your own. If any of these apply to you, you should have a conversation with a financial advisor. These starting points are the optimal time to have a conversation with a financial advisor to talk about the efficient use of your increased wages, to take a look at your retirement plan offerings or to talk about your current financial situation and how it can support a new business endeavor. Whether just starting your professional life or you're somewhere in the middle, developing great budgeting habits with your adult paycheck is a must and an advisor can help. For one, they’ll probably advise you to think about setting aside 10-20% of your earnings to go towards your savings and/or reducing debt. You’ll also want to be prudent about not going overboard with your discretionary spending. Now, what about the retirement benefits? If your job is like other jobs, they probably won't sit down with you to help you select the funds that will make up your retirement portfolio. An advisor can sit with you to make sure your portfolio is balanced and make sure you're keeping your fees low so that you’re accumulating the most you can during your time at this job. Also, they'll probably advise you to contribute up to a percentage if your employer offers a contribution match. Always contribute up to the match; you most likely won’t feel that your paycheck is much less than before. If you’re changing jobs, an advisor will talk with you about rolling over an old 401k so that you can consolidate your funds into one account and increase your compound interest potential. For those creating a business, in addition to the budgeting help, a conversation with an advisor can help you think about how to separate personal expenses from business expenses. Also, they talk with you about what your retirement plan options can be since you’ll no longer be under a company sponsored one.
Life Change: You're Nearing Retirement
So let’s fast forward through years at your dream job or the time hopping around jobs until you found your last stop. Now you’re thinking about cashing in so that you can have a comfortable retirement. If you’re at retirement age and this is the first time you’ve thought about preparing for retirement, you definitely want to get in to meet with an advisor pronto. We’ll be honest, if you haven’t naturally been contributing to a 401k through your job and you’re just thinking about saving, you’re a bit behind the curve. However, a conversation with an advisor will put things in perspective and offer a plan of action in your best interest for accumulating assets that can give some cushion in retirement. You may have to work a little longer or tighten the belt to be able to contribute more aggressively, but your fiduciary advisor will find a way.
Now if you’ve been contributing to your 401k and are contemplating retiring in a few years, it’s still a good idea to talk to an advisor. If a professional hasn’t been monitoring your retirement investments on your behalf, there’s potential that you’ve been overpaying in fees, the way your funds are allocated has limited your true earning potential and not having a conversation about your vision of retirement could have you on a passive investing strategy rather than a more aggressive one, or vice versa. Whether retirement is at your next turn or you’re still towards the beginning of your work journey, you should have a conversation with a fiduciary advisor who will be happy to help with the best financial planning services and investment strategies they can provide. It’s your future and you want to make sure you’re both ready for it and can enjoy it the way you really want.
Life Change: You Received a Large Sum of Money
Maybe you have received an inheritance from a late family member. Maybe you have won money in a legal settlement. Maybe you're among the very small population that has won the lottery or the population that received a hefty tax return. In any case, getting a significant amount of money in an instant is shocking and can stir up emotions, one being the impulse to spend as you've never done before. Though you might be in a position to make a major purchase you wouldn't have been able to in the past, it is best to take a pause and assess your goals for the money. If you want to just use it for pleasure, that's your prerogative, but if you want it to last a while and possibly even work to make you more money, you need to have a conversation with an advisor. A fiduciary advisor will talk with you about your financial goals and help you align your saving plans and investment plans to help you get there. That way your one-time big purchase can instead be a string of fun purchases spread out over a long time because you have the means to cover your essentials and have fun. Doesn’t that sound like great balance?
Life Change: You're Getting Married/ Starting a Family
These are some of the most commonly referred to life changes. If you're getting married, the thing to consider here is the merging of finances. You are two entities with potentially different spending habits, different saving habits and if you haven't discussed it, possibly different ideas of what you want your finances to buy you in the future (i.e a house, retirement property, college expenses or even an RV for a cross country adventure). In comes the need for a financial advisor. Yes, you and your spouse-to-be should have a conversation with a financial advisor to advise you on the best course of action for building a solid financial foundation together. Furthermore, they can help you flush out your couple financial goals and set time horizons for when they are likely to be achieved based on your current financial situation. If a baby is on the way, it's still a conversation of how to establish the best financial foundation for the first few years of baby expenses, but in the conversation, you may also consider a savings plans for college or what will be left for them after you're gone. Get clarification on these things and receive a detailed financial plan by having a conversation with an advisor.
Life Changes: Estate Planning
With loved ones to eventually, be left behind, you are looking to start planning for what will happen to your estate. You should talk to a financial because for one, they have knowledge of tax laws and can make a recommendation to minimize estate taxes. Furthermore, they can assist in the conversation with your inheritors about your wishes for funds so that there's a higher chance of wealth being passed down pass the 2nd generation. There are lots to think about and discuss, so a financial advisor is a great resource t use when dealing with this life change.
If you haven't experienced any of these life changes, we still recommend you to talk with an advisor if not simply for a check-up of your current situation. Some of us may be in a comfortable space financially, but there's always more that we can probably be doing to save more or make our money work more efficiently. If you have a new financial goal in mind, talk it over with a financial advisor; they can help make it more real as you work through how and when you'll be able to reach it. If you're interested in being more than just comfortable in life, but instead, thriving, have a free conversation with our advisors. We love talking to people in all phases of the life journey to help them reach their next goal or life marker. We're a resource right here in Baltimore, but we can have conversations by phone with anyone outside of Maryland. Let us help you improve your finances and support you through your next life change.