When do you need a financial advisor?
Updated: Jul 23, 2020
So, what in the world is the point of having a financial planner, and when do you need one?
A financial planner can help you to create a roadmap that will keep you on track with the major milestones in your life. There are a few key turning points in everyone’s life, when it is especially crucial to have a financial planner on your side. These are usually times when you are faced with big financial changes.
Here is a list of the times that you should seek the advise of a professional financial planner:
1. Going to or graduating college
If you’re like most nurses in the US, you will likely be taking out a student loan to cover your tuition fees. Not to mention all of the costs that come with college, like books, and other associated and unexpected expenses. Most people don’t have a real plan, and end up in a lot of debt - some of which could have been avoided with a better strategy.
Upon graduation, most people will be endowed with an amount of debt that makes them squirm. And the vast majority of people don’t know the smart way to go about student debt, and how to resolve it in a way that will end up benefiting them in the long run. A good financial planner can help with that.
2. Getting a new job
When you get a new job, your income will be impacted. There can also be a lot of lifestyle changes that come with it. You will likely experience a period of acclimation, adjusting to new shifts and hours, changes in environment, people, and work cultures. Perhaps you will have the need for childcare, new personal-professional necessities (equipment, scrubs, shoes, etc) which all can add up to be a lot.
All of this combined can lead to increased levels of stress and spending - which can be eased and balanced with some help from your financial planner.
3. Promotion at work
When you get promoted your income changes, and so may your employer benefits, as well as your responsibilities at work. When you gain increased income and benefits, that changes your financial landscape. Which means you have an opportunity to renegotiate a new standard of lifestyle for yourself, and your financial prospects for the future.
The key here is to make these changes through a process of conscious decision making, with the full picture in mind. And not giving into the impulses to casually spend more money. This can be a dangerous and slippery slope. Leaking money unnecessarily when you have more of it, is a real thing. It’s also a real thing that you can shoot your prospects for true wealth in the foot, before it even had a chance.
4. New baby
A new baby comes with new expenses. That’s a no-brainer. All of a sudden you have to account for their safety, health care, food, clothing, childcare, education, additional insurance, and the million and one other expenses that come along with it all. It’s hard enough to manage your day-to-day life and sanity with a newborn. But on top of it all, you may soon find yourself in a financial bind if you do not have a solid strategic plan for how to re-allocate your money during this time.
With the intense demands of being the parent of a new baby, it’s easy to lose track, and lose whatever financial stability you may have had before the birth of your new bundle of joy. This can be avoided with the right advice from a financial planner. Parents need support too, a lot of it. Having a solid financial plan can help to ease a lot of that stress and overwhelm that can make everything else so much harder.
5. Buying a house
When you buy a new house, it’s a big deal. And so many aspects of your financial life will get pulled into this equation. Special attention to your credit becomes important. Things like making a down payment, buying furniture, painting, repairs, maintenance, insurance, taxes, HOA (Home Owners Association) fees ... the list goes on and on.
This process can cost you a whole lot more than what you bargained for, if you’re not careful with your planning. Not to mention it will impact your financial life in complex ways in the future, that aren’t necessarily intuitive or simple to figure out on your own.
Choosing a house within your income range is something people often miscalculate. A lot of people buy homes that are too expensive for them, and then find themselves in a bind later on when it’s too late. Determining the right price range for your income level is something a financial planner can help with. (Hint: your mortgage should never be over 50%, it should actually be just around 20-25% of your income)
When you purchase investment properties, (for renting out to others) there are also a lot of financial factors to consider. For example, what is the cost for house management & maintenance? When is the ROI / break even point? When and for how much is the property sold? What is the long-term impact on your financial outcome? There are so many factors that can impact your bottom line. A good financial planner can help you sort all of this out.
6. Major health changes
No one wants to think about the possibility of their health taking a major turn for the worst. And this is true for almost everyone who ends up in deep levels of medical debt. One of the benefits of working with a financial planner is that they can help prepare you properly for the expenses that you will be faced with in the case of major health changes.
Health insurance policies can be elusive and difficult to navigate. Every policy is different in the way it deals with co-pays, deductibles, and whether they will cover the actual hospital bill itself. What happens if you can’t go to work or your income is reduced, do you have the right support in place to cover your income replacement?
These are just a few of the many important factors everyone needs to consider when addressing any major change in their health. It's important to get a plan in place while you are still in good health. A financial planner will be an important person to have on your support team, if you or one of your loved ones ever need to navigate these challenging waters.
Emergencies almost always require spending money. If you get a flat tire, or a family member passes, your pet gets sick, etc. - it all costs money. If you lose your job unexpectedly, which would mean you lose all or part of your income, you still need money to live and survive. And if you’re not prepared with a plan or a proper emergency fund, it usually means you will end up in debt or find yourself begging others for money.
If you are savvy enough to have an emergency fund already, you will need to fill it back up once the emergency has passed. A financial planner can help you to figure out how much exactly do you need to have in an emergency fund, based on your current and individual unique situation. And how to navigate yourself back to balance after each emergency situation.
As you can see, there are many stages in your life that you will need to have a financial planner. There are so many things that we forget to consider when we are wrapped up in the whirlwind of our lives.
Through our time here on earth, there are important milestones that become the things and experiences that really matter the most in life. The worst that can happen during these rites of passage, is that you end up (like so many others) in major financial distress.
Which can have a negative impact not only on your financial health, but your mental, spiritual, and physical health as well.
Or, on the other hand what can also happen is, you think you are in a good financial position, so you end up staying stagnant, instead of seeking advice and growing. An interesting thing I have seen time and again is that most of the people who feel they’re financially healthy, almost always have more gaps in their financial picture than they would have imagined.
Even olympic athletes still have a coach and trainer to go from good to great. There's great wisdom in this.
If you take in all of the moments in time when a financial planner is crucial to have on your team, it’s pretty significant - and really, includes every stage of your life from college onward to retirement.
One of the best things that as a nurse you can do for yourself, is to make sure that you have a solid foundation of support. Because the world needs your work.
This includes making sure you have the right support around your finances. And given that there are so many moments in life that require support from a financial planner, it’s best to find someone who is a right fit for you early, and work with them over the long term - making them a part of your larger support system.
Just like it’s important to have a good accountant for your taxes, lawyer for your court jurisdictions, mechanic for your car troubles, and a realtor when buying a home; it’s important to have a quality professional financial planner to help sort out your money situation.
I will write more on some of the specifics that relate to different income brackets and age, in part 2. But in the meantime, if this article spoke to you and you are feeling that you would like to explore what it means to have your own financial planner to help prepare you for these important stages of life, please reach out to me to have a conversation about what may be the right fit for you.
You can book a free financial planning consultation with me here.
But most importantly, be proactive. Take steps early, before you are faced with a financial crisis. Your future self will thank you for it!