How the pandemic made it easier to work with a financial planner


Dear Liz: You often recommend in your column that you seek the advice of a paid financial planner. Where can I find such a financial planner? We understand that a person must have at least $ 1 million in savings to invest before a “paid” financial planner consults with you. Can you be more precise?

Reply: It used to be difficult to find paid financial planners if you didn’t have a lot of money to invest. Many required you to invest at least $ 250,000 and charged 1% of those assets each year.

Today you have many more options.

There are now paid planners who work on an hourly basis (like those affiliated with the Garrett Planning Network) or charge a monthly fee (the XY Planning Network).

There are also accredited financial advisers and accredited financial coaches (Assn. For Financial Counseling & Planning Education) who often work on a sliding scale. Assn. of Personal Financial Advisors and the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners are two other organizations that represent paid planners.

One positive outcome of the pandemic is that many more planners are now working virtually, which expands your potential options.

Additionally, many discount brokers and robo-advisers are now offering more affordable ways to get trust advice. (“Trustee” means that the advisor is required to put your interests first.)

Many use a hybrid model, with computer algorithms directing your investments and access to a human advisor by phone, email, or video call. The cost is typically 0.3% to 0.5% of the assets you have invested in the business, which is significantly cheaper than the 1% traditionally charged by financial planners.

The traditional approach may still be fine if you meet the minimum planner requirements and need a lot of ongoing services. If your needs aren’t extensive, or you just need an occasional second opinion, one of the other approaches might make more sense.

House transfer in trust

Dear Liz: My dad set up a living trust that included his house, which has a mortgage on it. The lender agreed to transfer the house to the trust. Dad recently passed away, so the house should be handed over to my sister and myself. Can the lender trigger the liability clause? Or get my sister or I to qualify for the mortgage?

Reply: A federal law known as Garn-St. The Germain Depository Institutions Act 1982 details several situations in which lenders cannot enforce liability clauses on sale, including when a house passes to a relative or roommate, said Jennifer Sawday, Estate planning lawyer in Long Beach. The law applies to residential properties of four dwelling units or less.

You and your sister will not need to qualify for a new loan, but you will be able to continue making payments under the current mortgage terms. If you can’t afford the payments, you will need to consider other options, such as refinancing or selling the house.

The intricacies of IRA when a spouse is not working

Dear Liz: Due to the pandemic, I did not work in 2020. Can I contribute to a spousal IRA for 2020 since my husband still has income and will be contributing to his Roth IRA? Does this have to be a separate account from my existing IRAs?

Reply: As long as your husband has earned income, you can contribute to your IRA. You do not need to open a separate account to make this spousal contribution.

Whether or not your contribution is deductible will depend on your income and whether your husband is covered by an occupational pension plan such as 401 (k). If it is not, your spousal contribution is fully deductible. If it is covered, your ability to deduct your contribution gradually disappears for a modified adjusted gross income of $ 196,000 to $ 206,000.

Liz Weston, Certified Financial Planner, is Personal Finance Columnist for NerdWallet. Questions can be sent to him at 3940 Laurel Canyon, No. 238, Studio City, CA 91604, or by using the “Contact” form at


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