How Financial Advisors Can Help Beyond Investing

Financial advisors can reach far beyond a portfolio and investments. Most people have no idea that advisors can assist with matters as diverse as estate plans and insurance, to ensuring you invest with your head and not always your heart.

“Emotions will overcome economic considerations every time,” said Tim Maurer, wealth advisor with Buckingham Asset Management and director of personal finance for the BAM ALLIANCE, speaking on a recent advisory panel.

“A financial planner brings everything together,” said co-panelist Kimberly J. Howard, founder and owner of KJH Financial Services in Needham, Mass.

The panel, “What Can a Financial Advisor Do for Me?” was held recently as part of National Financial Advisor Week in New York’s Times Square. This event, which attracted hundreds of onlookers, featured financial advisors giving tips on personal finance, ranging from retirement saving to college funding. The panels also focused on how people can get the most out of advisors. At the event, Jennifer Rufener of Dover, Ohio, won a sweepstakes for a free college education.

The panel, which also included David Warshaw, president of The Wealth Plan, a financial services and wealth management firm in Garden City, N.Y., covered how advisors help with more than just stock advice.

Potential clients can bring many misconceptions and questions to advisors. One of the first: When to hire an advisor? Advisors are critical after such life changes as divorce, the birth of a child or the start of a business. “We are the objective third party,” Warshaw said.

All panelists agreed that American education falls far short regarding personal finance – and preparation. For instance, “If anyone depends on your income, you need life insurance,” Warshaw said. Maurer noted that hard planning questions are real eye-openers for such clients as a 30-something couple with a couple of kids.

Among other points:

  • Many who need an advisor think they can’t afford one. Often clients also feel “guilt” at how long it took to finally meet with a financial planner.
  • Clients must challenge financial advisors on disputed ideas or suggestions for a financial plan.
  • Self-education plays a growing role in clients financial planning and decisions, “especially if they get their hands on the right book,” Maurer said.
  • Business owners need advisors typically because owners may excel in one area – the focus of their company – and struggle in other critical areas like finance.

Advisors are also rapidly becoming parts of a teams handling retirement and estate planning, college loans and funding, to name a few topics. “Most clients will need all planning services at some point in life,” Howard said.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.