There are many similarities between maintaining financial health and physical fitness. Both take work and consistency to maintain and it’s important to follow a plan. Some people are quite good at keeping physically fit and just include going to the gym or exercising as part of their daily routine. Many of us need some help and encouragement to stay fit and hiring a personal trainer at the gym can really make a difference. Likewise, some people are good savers and can stick to a budget and manage their retirement funds on their own. For the rest of us, hiring a financial advisor who focuses on long-term planning rather than just investment management can really change your financial future.

 

Taking the time to plan and getting help from a professional might seem daunting, but the reality is that getting one’s finances organized and planning for one’s financial future is very much worth the time. Looking at data from the U.S Government Accountability Office we can see that most people currently approaching retirement haven’t saved enough for retirement. Of those in the age range of 55 to 64 with retirement accounts, the median household account balance was $104,000 in 2013 when the data was collected. This can provide very little in terms of retirement income.The table below from the GAO report shows more details.

So, what helps people to save more? Another interesting survey of the Boomer Generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) from the Insured Retirement Institute gives some insights into how financial advisors help people plan for the future. The survey states that 91% of Boomers who work with financial professionals have savings, versus only 41% of those who do not work with a financial professional. Also, 85% of those surveyed who work with a financial planner believe they are better prepared for retirement because of the work of their financial planner, and that their planner works in their best interest.

If you haven’t ever worked with a financial advisor, you might wonder what exactly an advisor does. First, there are a lot of different advisors out there with different focuses and skills. Here’s a list of some of the things a good advisor will do:

  1. They work with you to understand your situation and goals
  2. They always put your interests first
  3. They help you set up a financial plan and get organized
  4. They help you implement the financial plan
  5. They keep you on track with your plan
  6. They educate you about why the advice they are giving is sound
  7. They help take the emotions out of the decision process

In the end, hiring a financial advisor should bring order to your financial life which really brings order to the rest of your life. They help you save money and time and reduce anxiety, all of which leads to a better quality of life.This doesn’t mean there is no responsibility on your part in this whole processor that it just happens because you agree to work with an advisor. You will need to put in the time up front to get to know your advisor and let them get to know you and then set up a plan that works for your situation and goals. You also need to act on the advice you get and follow through. It really is a lot like hiring a personal trainer for physical fitness. If you follow the trainer’s instructions at the gym and keep at it, you will see the result and feel great about it. If you don’t stick to the plan or stop showing up, you won’t realize any of the potential benefits.

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Jason Draut, CFP®
info@harborlight.investments
2081 Center St
Berkeley, CA 94704
510-558-8272
Chris Sheehy, CFP®
info_sc@harborlight.investments
101 Cooper St
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831-291-3843
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