Getting Ready to Retire – How a Financial Advisor Can Help

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If retirement planning seems overwhelming, you’re not alone and you don’t have to be, either. You’re about to take a huge step into the next phase of your life and a retirement planner can help you qualify and prioritize retirement goals. These qualified financial advisors know what important questions to ask and can get to the bottom of for you.

Having an expert by your side to strategize and develop a plan to reach those goals based on your exact situation is a key to mapping out your retirement.  After you’ve established your goals and plans to reach them, your advisor will help you navigate and stay on track as you approach your long-anticipated retirement.

As CFP®-designated retirement planners in Bountiful, Utah, we can say with absolute certainty that hiring an advisor to help you establish and reach your retirement goals is one of the best investments you can make.

The Next Chapter

How do you know if you’re ready for retirement? It depends.For a simple rule of thumb, a lot of research has been done on what’s known as the 4% Rule. This rule states that you can reasonably expect to draw 4% from your retirement account per year over your retirement time horizon.

For example, if you expect to need $80,000 per year to live on in retirement, you will need a portfolio worth $2,000,000. Once you reach that $2,000,000 figure, the rule states, you can retire.

However, recent evidence has come to light disputing the accuracy of the 4% Rule. Specifically, if you’re planning on a retirement longer than 20 years, the 4% draw may not last.

For this reason and because everyone’s goals are different, the best way to know if you’re ready for retirement is to hire an experienced retirement planner to create and implement a custom plan for your specific situation.

When Selecting an Advisor…

When selecting a financial advisor with retirement planning expertise, be picky and interview multiple candidates. If you’re unhappy with your current advisor, shop around. Qualities to consider are experience, certifications (like the CFP®), fee structure (and if they have other forms of compensation), range of services, investment strategy and style, and general disposition.

Defining Retirement Goals

Defining retirement goals is the crux of the entire retirement planning process. However, a lot of advisors do not give this piece the priority it deserves. Instead of beginning with your goals and developing a plan from there, some retirement planners will simply place your assets into cookie-cutter portfolios. Upon retirement, they will assess where you’re at and make suggestions on the potential lifestyles you could live. That’s not the right way to approach retirement planning.

Retirement planning begins with defining your goals on how you want to spend your golden years. You may not know them all when you begin working with your advisor, and that’s to be expected – he/she will help you identify what’s truly important to you.

Where do you want to retire (we recommend Bountiful, UT, but we may be biased)? Do you want to travel? Do you want to remodel? Do you have kids still in college? What about grandchildren? Do you have a daughter who’s wedding you’d like to fund? What does your dream retirement look like?

The answers to these questions are different for everyone, which is why the retirement planning process must begin with the goals. 

After the goals are established, the plan is then created and implemented. Regular check-ins should be expected and if there is anything giving you stress, your advisor should be one phone call or email away. This is the mark of a truly great financial advisor.

How an Advisor in Bountiful Can Help

One of the biggest advantages of hiring a financial advisor is having someone with the right experience to help you prepare for retirement. They work with people like you all day, every day. They understand the problems you’re going through, the goals you have, and what scares you about the future. Yes, everyone’s exact situation is different, but the principles they learn and strategies they develop can be molded to handle your circumstances.

Retirement planning is hard: Do I have enough money to retire? What if my spouse dies? What if I die before my spouse? Should I downsize? Can we travel? What if we lose our income? All of these questions are nuanced – they are not black and white. Why go at it alone?

Questions like these are where retirement planners earn their keep and is why having a personal relationship with your advisor is so critical. Not only does he/she possess the technical knowledge to act pragmatically, your financial advisor will know what you are going through and is dedicated to act in your best interest. As people with experience can tell you, the stress-relieving assurance and confidence a good advisor provides is easily worth the fee they charge.

Investments and Savings

There are a number of strategies that good advisors implement for their clients’ benefits.

The proper use of tax-advantaged accounts (IRAs, 401(k)s, HSAs, etc.), tax planning, risk-appropriate allocations and rebalancing, RMDs, portfolio adjustments, income generation, Social Security, insurance, real estate, charitable giving – these are all areas where it is far too easy to leave money on the table. Good financial advisors easily cover their own compensation because of their competency in these areas. There is almost always a way to increase the efficiency of a retirement strategy.

Advantages of Hiring a CFP®

Despite what you may expect, it’s relatively simple to become a financial advisor and call oneself a retirement planner. Pass a few licensing exams and work for an RIA (registered investment advisor) or insurance agency and you’re off and running. However, not all advisors are created equal.

So, what should you be looking for in a financial advisor? Building a personal relationship with an advisor is so important and will help you succeed. You should also look for additional qualifications that separate him/her from the rest of the pack. One of the best ways to do this is to look for someone who is independently verified.

According to the CFP® Board, Certified Financial Planners are “trained to help you develop a comprehensive strategy to reach your short- and long-term financial goals.”

To become certified, a CFP professional must have the following:

  1. The knowledge to fulfill a comprehensive financial planning process
  2. Completed continuing education requirements
  3. Pass an exam designed to test the necessary application of financial planning knowledge
  4. Have 2 years of experience providing financial services
  5. Commit to a code of ethics set by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

The CFP is a prestigious designation and signifies a level of competency above and beyond the norm for the industry. When you choose a CFP®, you can be sure they are committed to providing fiduciary services, tailored to sets of goals that are as diverse as their clients. 

Are you looking for a CFP® in Bountiful? Get in touch with us today and let us show you what we do best.

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Certified Financial Planners™ at Advanced Retirement Strategies
Working with a Certified Financial Planner™ is an excellent investment of your time and money. With the high standards for CFP® certification, you’ll know you’re getting the expertise and knowledge of a highly-trained and educated professional who will always act in your best interests and with the loftiest ethical standards. 
The team of retirement planners and investment advisors at Advanced Retirement Strategies in Bountiful, Utah includes two Certified Financial Planners™ who specialize in helping diligent savers with $250,000 or more of investment and retirement assets (not counting your primary residence) prepare for and then transition into retirement. 
If you’re looking for a CFP® to help you live the retirement you have dreamed of, contact us today.


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