Financial planning is a complex issue, but, according to experts, dealing with it in a timely manner and doing it step by step can help prevent a potentially confusing process from becoming overwhelming.
And while managing your personal finances is ultimately your responsibility, you don’t have to take care of it alone – there are plenty of helpers available.
Raymond Bergen, a certified financial planner in Forest Hills, offered plenty of advice in a recent phone interview, but, perhaps more importantly, he suggested that unless you know how to manage your own finances, ” go to someone who is qualified ”.
This is where one of the most difficult aspects of financial planning lies: how to find the right person to work for you. Choosing a financial planner can be as important as choosing a doctor or lawyer.
Bergen recommends looking at the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards website, cfp.net, which states that “CFP certification is the gold standard in financial planning.”
The site recommends that you “partner with an experienced and knowledgeable CFP professional who is committed to putting your interests first. “
It offers suggestions on the types of questions you might ask a potential planner: What are your qualifications? What services do you offer? Will you have a fiduciary duty to me (putting the client’s interests ahead of theirs)? What is your approach to financial planning? How will I pay for your services? Do others benefit from the financial advice you give me?
When selecting the right planner, it is important to keep in mind how he or she can help you. The Financial Planning Association (plannersearch.org) suggests that a planner can help you set realistic goals by assessing your current financial health by reviewing your assets, liabilities, income, insurance, taxes, investments, estate plan, and other aspects of your business. finances.
The FPA further states that the person you hire should help you develop a comprehensive plan to meet your financial goals and then put your plan into action, monitoring their progress along the way. It is important, FPA stresses, to stay on track to achieve changing goals and personal circumstances throughout the different stages of your life.
“Beware of people who claim to be financial planners but who seem more interested in promoting specific financial products to the detriment of your real needs and goals,” the site warns. “All FPA member planners abide by the FPA Code of Ethics and are committed to putting the best interests of their clients first. “
“There are thousands of people with different credentials and certifications,” Bergen said. “Anyone with a license can give financial advice. The person could simply sell investments to earn money. He recommends talking to a tax preparer or chartered accountant first, but he cautions, “I’ve seen catastrophic situations” in which people have been misguided.
“Shop around,” Bergen said, suggesting that the best way to choose a counselor is to get recommended by someone you trust.
It should be noted that not all planners are suitable for everyone. Many planners specialize in working with certain types of clients. Therefore, the FPA recommends that you interview at least three professionals in person to find the one that will meet your needs.
In fact, according to smartasset.com, one of the most common mistakes people make is hiring the first advisor they meet. Among the other mistakes he mentions, choosing an advisor with the wrong specialty to meet your needs and choosing one whose strategy is incompatible with yours.
Experts say that one of the most serious mistakes people can make is waiting too long to start planning for their financial future. The process must begin long before a person becomes an elderly person.
Delaying a plan often leads to the biggest problem facing seniors today – they can’t afford to retire. The first step may well be to calculate how your income compares to your overall expenses and plan accordingly. Of course, some aspects of your lifestyle will change over time, such as possible health scenarios.
The # 1 concern for many people is running out of money later in life. Counselors suggest that you find a way to build a personal pension, an employer funded and operated retirement plan for the benefit of employees that would ensure a flow of income for the rest of your life. Individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, are also recommended, which are funded and managed by each individual as part of a personal retirement savings plan. Investopedia.com states that there are several types of IRAs, each with different rules regarding eligibility, taxation, and withdrawals.
Charles Schwab (at schwab.com) points out that the rules regarding the minimum distributions required from your retirement accounts have recently changed. You must take an annual RMD once you reach age 72 (as opposed to age 70 1/2 if you turned 70 and a half before January 1, 2020).