When you need a mechanic, you’ll find no shortage of people who “have a guy”.
If you need a haircut, you’ll have friends telling you to see their barber or stylist.
But what about if you’re looking for a financial planner? As you plan for your financial goals in your senior years, or are doing so for a loved one, it’s important to find the right fit.
But where do you even start? Our blog looks at a few things to consider as you start the process.
Understand Your Goals
Before you walk in the door for a meeting with a planner, it’s a good idea to have a notion of what your financial goals are, even if you don’t know how to get there. Maybe it’s paying for senior living, ensuring you can leave an inheritance to your family, or helping pay for college for a child or grandchild.
Or, all of the above.
Whatever the case may be, one of the first things a financial planner will ask you is: what are your goals? From there, they will help devise the best plan to get you there. But giving them a starting point will help them find the right path for you.
They Have Expertise in the Needs of Older Adults
Financial planning for someone in their 60s, 70s or older is much different than it is for someone in their 30s who may just be getting started.
You’re very likely not looking to buy a starter home or open a 401(k), your needs are very different. As such, any potential planners you talk to should have a working knowledge of Medicaid benefits, VA benefits and other opportunities for older adults.
It’s important to find a planner who understands the unique goals of older adults, the benefits available to them, and how to get there. If your planner seems to have a one-size-fits-all approach to their business, it’s a sign that they are most likely not for you.
Who Do They Work For?
This might seem like a trick question – if you hire a financial planner, obviously they work for you.
Except they might not.
Take someone who is with a large bank or firm. Yes, there are protections and guardrails in place with big companies that might bring you peace of mind. But on the other hand, those larger entities might have sales quotas they need to meet, or they might steer their clients towards investments that help the bank or the firm first.
You need to make sure to ask potential planners if they’re a fiduciary, which means they are legally required to work in the best interests of their clients. To that end, their payment structure should be “fee-only”, instead of commission-based.
Consider What Happens if Cognitive Decline Sets In
No one wants to think about the possibility of memory decline, but the statistics don’t lie: there are over six million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, and 1 in 3 older adults will die while living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
One of the conversations to have in your meetings are the protections in place in the event your cognitive health declines as you age. Unfortunately, there are any number of people who are willing to take advantage of older adults living with memory loss – you’ve worked your whole life to save, and you deserve to have your next egg protected.
With a financial planner, you can have either them or a loved one be a designated contact in the event a transaction doesn’t feel right. There are also laws in place that allow planners to put a 15-day hold on payments if they suspect exploitation.
As you meet with planners, be sure to discuss with them the protections or policies they have in place for those situations.
For more information about Prestige, contact the community nearest you to book a tour.