The key to a more confident future lies in having the right team of financial professionals working with you. Understanding which areas of expertise each individual specializes in helps ensure you get the best, most knowledgeable advice from your trusted team.
The following provides a brief overview of four commonly consulted financial professionals and their associated skills and services:ew and unexpected financial challenges, address your most pressing retirement questions and concerns, and help keep you on track toward meeting your particular goals.
1. Financial planners / Wealth advisors
These professionals help you define and quantify your financial goals, and then create and execute a plan to achieve those goals. They can advise you on a range of topics including retirement income planning, investment portfolio construction, estate planning and risk management. Frequently, they’ll work closely with a team of attorneys, investment and insurance specialists to coordinate all aspects of your financial plan.
“A financial planner is like the quarterback, calling the plays on the field,” says Jeff Rose, author of Soldier of Finance: Take Charge of Your Money and Invest in Your Future. They may hold a variety of specialty credentials, but some have greater importance than others. “I hold several certifications, but only one—CFP®—is printed on my business card,” Rose says, referring to his status as a Certified Financial Planner. “It’s the gold standard.”
Personal bankers are designated employees of a bank who have specialized knowledge of the products and services available to clients. They can assist you in liquidity and money movement, understanding credit and lending solutions, and applying for loans or lines of credit. Typically, their services cover a range of financial needs for clients across all stages of money management. From recommendations on the type of checking account you need to advice on creating long-term savings plans, they bring expert knowledge of financial solutions that best suit your needs.
Attorneys prepare and update the legal documents you’ll need to execute various aspects of your financial plan. They will be responsible for drafting your will, trusts and powers of attorney. Communication is key, however, so it’s important that your attorney and advisor collaborate closely. “Things go smoother when attorneys and planners have worked together in the past, know the client, and are on the same page with the larger plan,” Rose cautions.
If you want to create a will, execute a power of attorney, expect to live or work in another country, or plan to sell or purchase a business, you’ll definitely want to have a solid relationship with a trusted attorney.
Accountants provide a variety of bookkeeping, tax filing and auditing services. Some who provide basic tax preparation services may not be certified. Others who are Certified Public Accountants will have the ‘CPA’ designation next to their name. CPAs must meet more rigorous requirements and are the only accountants allowed to represent you in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) matters. While some CPAs may also offer financial planning advice, the majority of their training is focused on the tax code.
No single professional will have all the qualifications and expertise needed to carry out every facet of your financial plan. When it’s time to build your team, trust, transparency and communication should be paramount. “If you’re not getting up-front answers that make sense to you, don’t be afraid to move on,” Rose advises.