Do you need a wealth advisor?
Do you need a wealth advisor (also known as financial planner‡)? You might think that only the very wealthy need this type of expert advice. If you’re interested in investing, whether it’s for retirement, education or to leave a legacy, it is recommended that you work with a financial planning professional.
Whether it’s your first time talking to a financial planning professional or your 10th, you want to ensure your advisor is taking the time to ask the sometimes difficult questions to plan the best future for you.
Basic financial planning questions
Most customers focus on questions like:
- Will I have enough to retire?
- Will my children’s education be taken care of?
- What if I get sick?
These are important topics to cover, but an in-depth financial/estate planning will include more than these basic questions.
Do I need a trust?
- manage assets
- protect assets
- facilitate charitable gifts
- transfer of monetary assets or property
If the answer is yes, your advisor should assist you with making sure your assets are titled appropriately, or given the correct ownership recognition. You wouldn’t want to spend several thousand dollars for an attorney to prepare a trust document, only to find out that the assets aren’t titled appropriately. If so, the trust doesn’t get funded and your estate plan isn’t carried out to your intentions.
What about insurance?
Your advisor should also discuss the topic of insurance with you. Customers and advisors sometimes avoid this question, as it can be an uncomfortable conversation. Most insurance is used in the case of a disaster, accident, illness or death, and these are not pleasant subjects to discuss. You want an advisor who will understand the sensitivities of these topics, but will not avoid the subject. Insurance is an important part of a financial plan and it can be helpful to your family’s future.
You should look for an advisor who will build a relationship with you. If they work to create more than a business partnership, it’s likely there will be more open dialogue between you both. Advisors who are thorough in their work and ask the hard questions will be able to build a solid financial/estate plan for you, your family and their future generations.
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David Brody serves as executive vice president and marketing manager, UMB Private Wealth Management. He joined UMB in 2010. Brody received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Georgia. He also has various sales and management training through Cannon and the American Bankers Association.