How to Find the Best Financial Advisor for Retirement
Planning and saving for retirement can feel overwhelming. Finding a great financial advisor for retirement planning can help make the process easy.
Published March 30th, 2021
Reading Time: 5 minutes
A 2019 study from Northwestern Mutual found that 15% of Americans have no retirement savings at all. This statistic is concerning. Often, younger individuals focus their money on present expenses which leads to neglecting retirement savings. While older individuals might feel that they’ve already missed their chance to save for retirement and give up any attempt at saving for the future.
How Do You Find the Right Financial Advisor for Retirement?
The decision to neglect saving for retirement can prove to be extremely detrimental. No matter what stage of life you are in or what your financial situation is, finding the right financial advisor can make retirement planning a painless process that offers a sense of financial security. The question is, how do you find the right financial advisor for retirement?
When trying to find a financial advisor that you can trust, it is important to understand what a financial advisor is. The term “financial advisor” is fairly vague and can be used by many different financial professionals that serve vastly different roles. It’s important to find an advisor who’s experience, certifications, and expertise align with your specific needs and goals.
Understanding Financial Advisor Certifications
Any advisor that you choose to work with should be certified. To become certified, advisors must complete training requirements, pass in-depth exams, and often meet minimum experience requirements. Having a certification demonstrates that an advisor is knowledgeable and a true professional. There are many different certifications for financial advisors, but some of the most common to look for include chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified financial planner (CFP), and personal finance specialist (PFS). There are also certifications such as a certified retirement finance advisor (CRFA), for those that specialize in retirement planning.
How Are Financial Advisors Compensated?
When selecting the right advisor for your retirement savings, it can also be beneficial to understand how financial advisors are compensated. Financial advisors can be fee-based advisors or they can be brokers, also known as commission-based advisors. Almost all fee-only advisors are fiduciary financial advisors. Fiduciary means that the advisor has a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest at all times.
Commission-based financial advisors do not charge a fee. Instead, they receive commissions from third-party sales. This could be commission from investment packages, insurance plans, or other financial products that they sell to their clients.
Because fee-only advisors are not compensated based on your investments or retirement plan choices, they are usually the most objective when it comes to offering financial advice. This is important to understand so that you can choose a financial advisor that you feel is trustworthy and best suited to help achieve your individual goals.
How To: Search for Financial Advisors
When you decide to start looking for a financial advisor, the most difficult part can be trying to figure out where to begin your search. Oftentimes, people ask friends or family for a recommendation. While this can be helpful, what works for a friend or family member may not be right for you. Fortunately, there are many resources that can help simplify the process of finding a quality financial advisor for retirement.
Zoe Financial is an excellent resource for those looking to find a qualified financial advisor with a great track record. Zoe Financial connects you with a network of financial advisors, helping you find an advisor that can meet your needs. All of the advisors in Zoe’s network are fiduciary, fee-only advisors, and are in the top 5% of the country’s independent financial advisors. Using a matching algorithm, Zoe connects you with advisors that align with your individual needs. All you have to do is answer a few simple questions to get started, and you can begin planning for retirement with the help of a trustworthy, experienced financial advisor.
Interviewing a Financial Advisor
Before settling on any financial advisor, you should always interview them to make sure that you’re a good mutual fit. During an interview, be sure to ask them about their education, experience, and certifications. Asking the right questions can allow you to get a feel for the advisor’s competency, style, and their specific areas of expertise. For example, some advisors may focus on retirement planning, while others may specialize in tax planning. Other areas financial advisors may focus on include investment planning, insurance and risk planning, divorce, or estate planning. Because financial advisors can serve so many different roles, asking the right questions can ensure that you find the perfect financial advisor to help with your retirement planning. To see a detailed list of interview questions for financial advisors, check out Zoe Financial’s page that discusses how to interview advisors.
The Value of a Financial Advisor for Retirement Planning
When it comes to retirement planning, the value that a qualified financial advisor brings cannot be overstated. Two essential questions that must be answered are how much you should have saved already, and how much you need to save every month. A financial advisor can help you determine what your living expenses will look like in retirement so that you can properly plan how much you will need to have saved. If you are behind on your retirement savings, an advisor will be able to help you create a plan to get your savings back on track.
Working with a financial advisor is also the best way to make sure that your retirement accounts are being effectively managed to maximize your savings. In many cases, your retirement account can be subject to hidden fees that eat away at your savings without you even knowing it. An experienced retirement planner will also be aware of the income limits and contribution limits for each type of retirement account. Knowing this information can help you decide what retirement account is best for your individual situation.
A financial advisor is also a great asset to have when transitioning into retirement. Some people choose to gradually transition into full-time retirement, others may quit their job as soon as possible and quickly begin life as a retiree. Some people choose to never fully retire, but instead transition to a more flexible and enjoyable career. No matter what your idea of retirement looks like, your financial advisor will be able to help you manage your transition and ensure that you will be financially stable throughout the lifestyle change. Additionally, an experienced advisor will be able to make sure that you preserve your retirement savings to last as long as possible.
It’s Never Too Late to Begin Planning for Retirement
Regardless of where you are in life, it is never too late to begin planning for retirement. If you are just entering the workforce, finding the right financial advisor can help you start planning early to make sure that you will be fully set for retirement when the time comes. If you are getting close to retirement age and feel that it is too late, an experienced financial advisor can help create a plan to begin saving before retirement arrives. Just remember, the right financial advisor for retirement is the one that minimizes your financial risks, makes you feel financially secure, and helps you successfully reach your retirement and financial goals.
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Real financial planning should pay off today, and in 10 years' time.