One of the advantages of working with a financial planner is putting the moving parts of your financial life together. So often, individuals may work with an insurance agent when they need to insure their home or car or an attorney when an emergency happens, but there's never a connection that could boost the value of what those players provide.
A skilled financial planner, such as a Certified Financial Planner™, can not only help you hire the right talent if you need it, but can help coordinate those professionals to support the financial strategy you and your planner have built. But who are the right players on a financial team?
Your financial planner: A financial planner is your central point of discussion for goals and strategy. A good planner talks with a new client not only about their current financial status, but what they'd like to accomplish financially and personally for a lifetime. Then both sides agree to a plan. It's important to realize that many planners specialize in various disciplines (divorce, retirement, eldercare planning, for example) and can also suggest how a client can use other professionals to meet those goals.
Your planner may also provide specific investment advice as part of his or her services. This can range from overall strategy to specific investment recommendations tailored to your individual needs.
Your tax professional: While a good financial planner is trained to understand major tax issues, it's best to use a trained accountant not only to handle your tax returns but also to advise you on whether a particular investment or planning strategy is tax-efficient. Aside from a financial planner, a tax professional is very likely the most important member of your team. If your financial planner is also a Certified Public Accountant, all the better!
Your attorney(s): Many people go through life relying on one family attorney for all their legal needs. The person who reads over their real estate contracts might be the same person who creates their will and durable powers of attorney or a simple trust. And that may be the best approach for some people. But a financial planner knows when you require legal specialists for certain tasks. For instance, an entrepreneur or a high net worth-individual may need one or more attorneys who specialize in corporate law and estate issues particular to his or her financial profile. If you are a couple planning to adopt or if you need to plan for the future of a special-needs child, you may need specialists for that. A well-connected planner can help you find the right legal help.
Your insurance agent: Insurance really isn't just about home, health, car or apartment insurance anymore. Insurance companies have spread their wings into many areas in financial services. A good insurance agent will work with you and your planner to suggest traditional insurance and possible financial products that may be right for you. Like investment products, insurance products are not "one-size-fits-all" they need to be selected based on your personal needs.
This column is produced by the Financial Planning Association, the membership organization for the financial planning community, and is provided by Innovative Financial, a local member of the FPA.