Many clients will call their financial advisor during volatile markets or if they want to talk about a portfolio change, but financial advisors can help with more than just retirement accounts. Most major life changes—even positive ones—come with financial implications, and your advisor can be an invaluable resource in helping you build and protect your assets. Further, financial advisors have the expertise to guide you through significant purchases, such as buying a home or paying for college.
Any time you’re facing a significant life or business event, it’s important to remember that your financial advisor can help with more than just your retirement account. Below, 13 members of Forbes Finance Council share often-overlooked financial or life situations that a client can and should consult their financial advisor about.
1. Protecting Business Assets
Asset protection is something that a lot of business owners either don’t fully understand or have not discussed before with their advisors. As a business owner, you’re vulnerable to a plethora of risks, and in some cases, commercial insurance doesn’t cover all of those risks. In most cases, it’s worth looking at different trusts or business structures. – John King, Dakota Wealth Management
Most people are not aware of how impactful a financial advisor can be during a divorce. Divorce is often messy and emotional, and it can turn things upside-down for both parties financially. It can be difficult to make good financial decisions during emotional turmoil; a financial advisor can provide objective guidance and perspective that can impact your short- and long-term financial well-being. – DeLynn Zell, Bridgeworth Wealth Management
3. Disability Income And Long-Term-Care Planning
Disability income planning and/or long-term-care planning are frequently overlooked areas clients should consult their financial advisor about. Many people are living longer, and it is important to anticipate the potential cost of extended care—otherwise, the expenses can quickly deplete a retirement account. Tax planning, both while you’re working and during retirement, is another key area that gets overlooked. – Robin Campana, Acumera, Inc.
4. Safeguarding Savings
The pandemic highlighted the underlying fears people have regarding their financial savings and their feelings of a loss of control. As we come out of the pandemic, it’s essential for clients to prioritize having conversations with their advisors on safeguarding their savings and ensuring lifetime income for the future. – Jim Poolman, Indexed Annuity Leadership Council
5. Reaching Future Life Goals
Think broadly about what is important to you and what your priorities are, and then talk openly with your advisor about these goals. A few examples of topics you can engage on with your advisor include providing a debt-free college education for your children, taking care of aging parents, saving money for retirement and building enough savings to enable you to donate to philanthropic causes. – Sonya Thadhani Mughal, Bailard, Inc.
6. Preparing For Next Year’s Taxes
An advisor who is allowed to give tax advice can be an invaluable resource for clients. Here’s why: You have to plan ahead. If you are in a low- or no-tax year, for example, you could realize capital gains or look at converting money into a Roth IRA. These are things that have to be looked at before the year is over, not in April when you’re filing your taxes. It’s too late at that point. – Bill Keen, Keen Wealth Advisors
7. Preparing To Sell Your Business Or A Major Asset
The one area that often costs business owners the most is failing to proactively plan for capital gains tax avoidance prior to the sale of a major asset or business. Often, a client will sell the asset or business and then look for ways to avoid a large capital gains tax bill. Instead, a client should build an exit plan with their advisor prior to the sale, because afterward, it is often too late. – Jerry Fetta, Wealth DynamX
8. Basic Liability Planning
Advisors can help with basic liability planning by talking with their clients not only about any debt that is being carried but also about how it is being carried and how to build a plan for getting out of it. In addition to debt, the other liability that often goes undiscussed is home and auto liability coverage. In my professional experience, most people have no clue how much protection they have. – Trevor Wilde, Wilde Wealth Management Group
9. Planned And Potential Major Life Changes
Do you have or are you planning to have children? Are you married or planning to get married? Are you planning on moving out of state or leaving the country? Did someone in your family recently die and leave you an inheritance? Major changes in your life, whether unexpected or planned, are good topics to speak with your financial advisor about, as they all come into play in financial planning. – Joseph Orseno, Tiltify
10. Sudden Job Loss
When you have a major life change, such as a sudden job loss, working with a financial advisor can be beneficial. Advisors can work on the short- and long-term impacts of “emergency” situations with you. Job loss often sends people into a panic, sometimes triggering them to withdraw from their retirement funds, which has tax implications. An advisor can provide advice to help you minimize the impact of these decisions. – Cynthia Hemingway, Fourlane, Inc.
11. Shopping For Life Insurance
Many clients overlook life insurance. There’s a tendency to dismiss it as another product to be purchased, but when used properly, life insurance can be a powerful tool in your overall financial plan. Having the right type, and the correct amount, of life insurance can be the difference in whether your family thrives or becomes destitute in your absence. – Justin Goodbread, Heritage Investors
12. Preparing For Health Insurance Coverage In Retirement
Often, financial advisors are connected with good insurance brokers. They can advise and connect clients, helping them best prepare for and manage their health insurance into retirement. These services go hand-in-hand when preparing for the next life stage. – Kelly Shores, GCubed, Inc.
13. Achieving Financial Freedom
An advisor can help a client define what financial freedom means to them and help chart a path of saving and investing to enable them to achieve their goals. Estate and tax planning are important ancillary areas in which advisors can be of great help, in keeping with the adage, “It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep that matters.” – Sean Brown, YCharts