Some signs are obvious to pick up on. There’s a flood in the bathroom, you call a plumber. Toothache? You call the dentist. But handling money and future money is a lot more subtle and tricky. No one bumps into a “you aren’t saving enough to retire” sign until you’re already in your 60s and limited by a super-fixed income. When it comes to finances, thinking ahead and using the money-making power of time can be your greatest allies. But having someone who understands your options and the process of investing can help you avoid wasted time, and potentially wasted money. Here are seven signs that it might be time to give a financial advisor a call:
1. You’ve gotten a tax refund the past few years. Who doesn’t love a fat tax return check. It’s a rare time when the government gives back some cash. It also works as a mini savings account for some people who see it as a painless way to save some money for a big purchase come next year. But that extra money could be working better for you in an interest-bearing account. A financial advisor can help you adjust your withholdings and find better ways to invest those extra funds.
2. You’ve got a 401(k). Great! You’re saving for your future. But did you know you might be paying for that investment heavily, too? There are fees associated with investments and a financial advisor can help navigate you through the fine print to learn just how much is being used for things like mutual fund administration and marketing. We’re guessing that’s probably money you’d prefer to use elsewhere.
3. You’re over 30. Turing the big 3-0 can be hard. But part of adulting is learning to plan ahead. People tend to think about retirement after they’ve turned 50 and retirement is only a decade or so away; that’s not the time to do it. Since time can be your greatest asset, use it wisely and begin plotting out your retirement goals and how much money you’ll need to save to make them happen, sooner, rather than later. With the help of an advisor, you can set up a financial plan that even considers worst-case scenarios like additional medical bills or a downturn in the market.
4. You have children and you’re the sole provider. No one wants to think about what life would be like for their family if they die unexpectedly, however the financial devastation can be significant if the proper savings are not in place. Going to a lawyer to write up a will is the basic step most people think of when considering their finances after they pass. But for families with children who are still dependent on your income, further planning needs to be done. There are many options, which is why a financial advisor can help you choose the one that fits your income, lifestyle and needs the best. And if your income is not high enough to require an ongoing relationship, you can look for an advisor that offers a one-time consultation.
5. You work for yourself. As anyone who has owned a business knows, finances — both personal and profession — can become complex rather quickly. Whether you’re a freelancer or an owner with employees, each self-employed scenario has its own unique opportunities and challenges that a financial advisor who specializes in small businesses can assist with.