Another January, another terrible start for the stock market. The recent volatility reminds me that every family needs a financial advisor. But not for the reason you might think.
You don’t need a financial advisor to pick stocks and bonds. You’re probably better off putting your money in a Vanguard index fund.
So what can these financial professionals do for you and your family?
As an estate planning attorney, I can tell if a client has a competent financial advisor. Those clients -- rich or not -- have one thing in common: Financially, they understand the current state of their affairs -- and they have a clear picture of where they’re headed.
Here’s what I mean:
Your ideal financial advisor helps you visualize your goals and create a plan to get there...
Recently, I had a conversation with my friend about this topic. He’s a young father with a promising career in the tech industry. During our chat, he said he gave a chunk of his money to his financial advisor to invest, but he had no idea what the latter was doing with his money. I told him to fire his so-called “advisor.”
The type of financial advisor you should hire does more than simply manage your investment portfolio. She takes the time to understand your realistic ambitions and help you design a financial plan to go beyond your family’s present and future needs -- whether it’s planning for retirement or saving to invest in your children’s first business idea.
...and she makes sure you stick with the plan -- or pivot with purpose.
A mindful financial advisor won’t let you make a huge mistake today and wreck the blueprint to your future. She will help you stay cool even when the stock market takes a nose dive into a pool of sharks.
And if you do need to pivot because of unexpected situations such as divorce or unemployment, your advisor will help you make rational decisions and protect you from your emotions [insert loudly crying face emoji].
Good financial advisors take the time and energy to help you budget and monitor your behavior by taking your family’s lifestyle and goals into consideration. The bad ones do nothing more than sell you a product and suggest investments with no direction.
In addition to an advisor, consider using tools like Mint.com and Acorns.com to help you budget and save.
For the sake of your family, it’s important that you build a strong relationship with a financial advisor who knows what they’re doing. Behind every successful family -- again, rich or not -- is a strong team that includes a financial advisor, accountant, and attorney.
If you have any questions, email Edmund Yan, Los Angeles Estate Planning Lawyer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Financial planning is one ingredient in your recipe to create a fresh and green future. Don’t forget another key ingredient -- estate planning. Learn why every family needs an estate plan, here.