Professional Advice Will Help to Keep You
Financial advisors can help you, the individual to stay on track with your personal money, but they should also be able to help you with more than just the “numbers” part of your personal money. On a consistent and competent basis you should always expect them to help you with the following:
1. Measuring where you are now
You know the expression “you can’t know where you are going, if you don’t know where you have been” nothing could hold more truth, in relation to your personal finances.
If you don’t know your key money numbers (your net worth, monthly cash flows and several others), learning how you need to proceed forward in a helpful way is made more difficult.
If these calculations are properly determined they will tell you: what you have now (assets), what you owe now (liabilities) and what you have retained (equity). Further, the money that you earn and spend will be uncovered in detail, which will give you the extended information of what you can save, debt you can either pay-off or your capacity for new debt and serve to indicate if you have the funds to give money away and/or invest.
These questions are not easily answered without a proper look into your personal financial information and then suitable conclusions and decisions made from them.
2. Establishing your priorities
Prioritizing what you need and want from your money is not always easy. There needs to be not only the “hard numbers” of your personal money situation but also some thought about your feelings towards money and how you think about it. For example, some of the questions that your adviser should include dealing with:
- Can you define the most important things in your life?
- What do you want and expect for yourself and your money?
- Do certain purchases bring to your life and are they worth it?
- How best should you manage your time to get the most from it?
- What money habits do you have that are not good for you?
- Do you really understand the inner workings of money and how it affects you?
3. Making suggestions to reach your money goals
Although this could include a variety of methods, it should be one that is:
- Realistic for your current situation
- One that honours your future desires and goals
- Doesn’t impose on who you are and what you are about
- Doesn’t make demands but rather, works with you to move you forward and build momentum
- Not a “cookie cutter” approach to your personal finances, that so many advisors promote
4. Helping you to develop a plan
Having a tangible plan for your money is really important so that you have something that is real to you and can be updated and referred to as needed.
Briefly, it should include:
- Dealing with Debt
In order to fully develop this plan, there are questions that you should ask your financial adviser.
These could be expressed something like this:
I would like more clarity about ____________________________________________________.
What options to I have with ____________________________________________________ .
What would you suggest that I do about ____________________________________________________ .
Like any other service-provider, not all financial advisers are created equally! Sometimes advisers seek to only sell you investments and/or suggest to you schemes that will make your financial situation worse or advise you to take on additional debt.
You need to be very careful with who you deal with, their background education and experience and knowledge about their success with previous clients – are important to safeguarding yourself from any malicious person that would not be able to help you anyway.
HOWEVER, THE OVERRIDING INDICATOR OF A GOOD FINANCIAL ADVISER?
In our opinion, this needs to be someone who is teaching you about your money and you. They need to show you the link between who you are, what you value, what you have, what you want – while moving you forward in your understanding and dealing with your feelings about money.
After all, ANYONE can give you calculations and numbers to look at – a REAL financial advisor takes ALL OF YOU into consideration and works with you to move you up to a higher altitude of money awareness.
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