Kathleen T Owens, Financial Adviser, Fiduciary
August 10, 2018
When you get your first real job. Starting your first “real’” job in your chosen career is a good reason to check-in with a professional financial advisor. Many young people may balk at the idea of paying for financial advice, so early on in their careers, but getting set-up on the right path early can be worth thousands in future net worth. Not only can a financial adviser offer guidance on how best to manage debt, or begin saving for retirement, he or she may also provide insight on how to maximize your employer's benefits package.
When you get married or divorced. Another good time to seek out a professional financial advisor: whenever you enter or leave a marriage. Bringing in an unbiased third party can make it easier for engaged couples to have conversation about how they would handle their finances and if they should have joint accounts. An advisor can also help minimize financial losses in a divorce.
"One of the biggest reasons people should work with a financial adviser is so that they don't make emotional mistakes, especially during a divorce”, says Kathleen Owens, managing member of Aurora Financial Planning & Investment Management. Emotional attachment to the family home may cause a spouse to hang-on to the home, where selling it might be the better financial choice.
When you have children. Babies are expensive. Having a candid conversation with an advisor about how a child is going to change your finances is essential. Many parents blow their budgets and get carried away over-indulging their children with stuff. This life event also signals the start of estate planning for many couples. Maybe they need to put wills and trusts together or 529 plans. Wills and trusts can protect assets in the event of a death while 529 accounts are college savings funds that come with tax incentives.
When your spouse dies. Death brings a unique set of financial challenges. Social Security benefits will change. A surviving spouse may have to live on a reduced income or need to determine how best to manage assets such as real estate, the death benefit from a life insurance policy or investments. Most often, for the wife, this may be the first time they have been in charge of household money management.
"The surviving spouse is forced into a position of navigating complex financial decisions while experiencing intense emotional grief," says Kathleen Owens. An experienced financial adviser can help ensure costly mistakes aren't made, such as moving money into risky investments, or cashing out tax-favored accounts prematurely.
When you are worth a quarter of a million. Once your income and assets reach a certain point, you may want to develop a regular working relationship with a financial adviser who can keep you in check. According to some financial experts, when you have attained a quarter of a million dollars in assets, it's a good time to bring in an experienced objective third party.
When you receive a large sum of cash. Receiving a large sum of money, such as from an inheritance, bonus, buyout or big raise, should be a boon to your financial health. Unfortunately, many people tend to squander the opportunity.
When you need to take care of aging parents. If your parents begin to have health problems and may need assistance as they get older, good financial planning can sometimes prevent financial disaster. Unfortunately, some families ignore the situation until a crisis happens, such as mom falls and breaks her hip. Planning for long-term care health costs by purchasing a long-term care insurance policy is smart. If the person does not ever need long-term care, the money in the policy is not lost.
When you are not really thinking about retirement. Of all the times to talk to a financial adviser, none may be more obvious than before retirement. However, to make the most of their advice, you need to consult with a planner well before your expected retirement date. Take a look at your finances 20 or 30 years before you will be retiring. Touching base with a professional no later than fifteen years before your retirement target date if you feel you’ve done a good job of saving up until that point.
When you want to pass on your wealth. People should make a point to talk to a financial adviser before making any large financial gift. The adviser can gauge how a large gift impacts your financial situation, including any adverse impacts on retirement or taxes.