It doesn’t matter if you’re 25 or 50—the right portfolio management team can guide you through the often confusing elements of planning for retirement and meeting your financial goals. With a solid management team in place, you don’t have to guess which options provide the most benefits. A trusted team not only prepares you for the future, but helps you navigate through life’s changes so you’re fully prepared. Who should be on your team? Start here.
1. Credit Counselor
A credit counselor is particularly important if you find yourself with debt you’re having trouble paying off. A credit counselor will work with you to create a plan to tackle debt and stay within a reasonable budget. Many plans greatly reduce or eliminate debt in one to two years. Look for a National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) accredited counselor. NFCC members are certified counselors that meet and maintain the highest standards and ethical behavior. Counseling services are location-, phone- or online-based. Initial consultations are typically free.
2. Tax Adviser
Unless your financial picture is a simple one, seeking the help of a tax adviser is the best way to develop a tax plan that includes all the advantages you’re entitled to. A tax professional that is also a certified public accountant (CPA) can navigate through the complicated tax laws, prepare accurate and complete returns and counsel you on ways to increase tax benefits.
3. Financial Planner
A financial planner is an important part of your team, particularly when it comes to saving for retirement. Professional money managers offer investment advice calculated to grow your money over time. A financial planner can also help you evaluate the employee benefits you currently receive, analyze your insurance needs and help strategize cash flow. Ask the following questions before deciding on a financial planner:
● How are you paid? Financial planners are paid three different ways: commission, fee-only or fee-based, a combination of the first two. Of the three, fee-only planners have the least conflict of interest. Your goals are the same—when you make money, so does the adviser. When you lose money, the adviser does as well. Commission and fee-based planners make money on products they sell. Find out about conflicts and fees before you begin working with someone.
● Do you have other clients that fit my profile? If so, how many? Work with someone who is practiced at helping clients in your circumstances.
● What exactly will you do for me? Will the planner actually manage your investments or simply make investment recommendations? Find out how the financial adviser works and determine if you’re comfortable with the strategies.