By Kerry Hannon
NOT LONG AFTER WE GOT MARRIED, my husband and I decided it was time to set up a meeting with a financial advisor to review the merging of our financial lives. We knew that our lives had taken a significant turn with marriage. Plus, we had different money styles.
Of course, we wanted to have someone evaluate our retirement accounts and other investments, but we also had goals we knew would take some forethought and financial strategizing: starting a family, purchasing a home and continuing the travel we both loved. It took some searching, but we found an advisor who understands both of us. She meets with us separately and together, and has held our hands through more than one uncomfortable money discussion.
These days, because I write about money, I routinely get asked lots of questions about financial advisors. Lately, a lot of people want to know why, with so many choices out there, from target date funds to robo-advisors, they need anyone to help them choose investments. I generally tell them that financial advisors do much more than offer investment advice—the best of them, in my experience, help their clients through many complex financial decisions and life transitions to help them pursue their goals.
Here are four of the most commonly asked questions that I get.
What does a good financial advisor do?
I’ve come to believe a good advisor always starts with identifying your goals—uncovering what’s most important to you and what you want your money to do for you. After all, that’s why there is goals-based wealth management. Working with a good financial advisor means opening up about your hopes and dreams—and then turning that understanding into a personalized financial strategy that can help you make those dreams come true.