- I’m just getting started, where do I begin?
- How do I select a Financial Advisor?
- Am I on track with my financial goals?
- How much do I need to retire?
- Should I buy a house? Or can I afford to buy a house?
- What happens to my finances in the case of death or divorce?
- I just left my job or got laid off. Should I roll over my 401(k)?
- When should I start my Social Security?
- What type of life insurance do I buy and how much do I need?
- What is the best way to save for college?
1.I’m just getting started, where do I begin?
Great question! Get on the train and stop watching it go by! Start with a budget and figure out how much you can save per month – open a brokerage account, start a life insurance policy, put money away for an IRA or 401(k). Just start anywhere!
If you want to make a more meaningful move, our coaching style approach can help you lay out steps to help you reach your goals. We offer this coaching service to help you identify your goals, help you take steps to achieve them, lay out realistic timelines, be flexible and avoid any costly mistakes.
2.How do I select a Financial Advisor?
Your Financial Advisor is one of your most important Advisors and should be there to support you through the duration of your life, as well as the lives of your loved ones.
We recommend interviewing more than two Advisors, or going with a referral from a friend or family member.
Here are some questions to consider:
- Are they a fiduciary?
- What licenses do they hold?
- Look at their history – do they have any complaints?
- Do you feel comfortable or pressured when talking to them?
- Do they communicate well?
- Do they rely strictly on statistics from the overall market or are they looking at how you are moving toward your personal financial goals?
- Do they offer tools to help simplify your interaction with your money?
- Will they still be there for you when they have nothing more to sell?
3.Am I on track with my financial goals?
This is a question that most people ask themselves. It’s a hard question to answer unless you have the right tools. We offer clients an interactive planning tool that allows you to view your goals, track your progress and make meaningful moves to keep you on your track to financial freedom. This can give you clarity and let you know what important steps you may take in order to increase your probability of reaching your goals.
With our coaching services, we also recommend a minimum of a yearly checkup as a “gut check” to make sure you’re on track for both your short and long term goals.
4.How much do I need to retire?
What is really important to ask is: how much money do I need to stay retired? There are a lot of factors that go into that response, such as:
- Do you need health insurance if you retire before Medicare kicks in?
- Do you plan to travel?
- Have you calculated inflation into your budget?
- Are you going to care of your parents or other family members?
The first step is putting together a solid budget today and then working towards your retirement age by adding and subtracting the costs with inflation.
Our interactive planning tool can help calculate these numbers by looking at your current income, raise history, inflation, how long you’d like to work and what lifestyle you wish to maintain. This will give you important information and the tools to make informed decisions on the best way to plan for your retirement goals.
5.Should I buy a house? Or can I afford to buy a house?
Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions you can make. How much home you can afford is governed by several factors including income (it’s predictability and regularity), the amount of money available for a down payment as well as interest rates. Many people find a low down payment attractive only to find that the amount of money they need to borrow creates a mortgage payment that is unrealistic with their income. A good rule of thumb to gauge how much you can afford is dedicating 30% or less of your income to your monthly mortgage.
Owning a house is also a great way to prepare for retirement – if you can pay off your house before retirement, you will lift a significant financial burden from your budget planning process. We can help you see all of your options, determine how much home you can afford and the best way to prepare yourself.
6.What happens to my finances in the case of death or divorce?
Living Trust, Living Trust, Living Trust! It is all too common for families to not complete the proper paperwork so that their loved ones can be taken care of and keep the courts away from your hard-earned savings. Don’t let that happen to you or your family – plan it out in advance to mitigate unexpected risks due to divorce, an untimely death, disability or long-term care costs.
As part of that plan, be sure to develop an estate plan that ensures your money goes where you want it to go, with a minimum of loss due to probate, court costs, attorney fees and taxes.
We know that no one enters into a relationship with the plan of getting divorced. Divorce is one of the most financially damaging and heart-wrenching things that a person can go through. However, if you are in the middle of getting divorced or contemplating getting divorced, our coaching process can help you view all of your options and the effects that divorce will have on your financial future and goals.
LPL Financial Representatives offer access to Trust Services through The Private Trust Company N.A., an affiliate of LPL Financial.
7.I just left my job or got laid off. Should I roll over my 401(k)?
This is a very important decision. There are a lot of factors that go into making this decision, and asking for professional help is the best answer. If you leave your job, you have the option to leave the retirement plan with your former employer.
That may not be the best course of action, as the plan usually has limited offerings and in many cases those offerings are in the best interest of the company in terms of cost, rather than in the best interest of participants by matching their risk tolerance.
A plan participant leaving an employer typically has four options (and may engage in a combination of these options), with each choice offering advantages and disadvantages:
- Leave the money in his/her former employer’s plan, if permitted
- Roll over the assets to his/her new employer’s plan, if one is available and rollovers are permitted
- Roll over to an IRA
- Cash out the account value
Interview a few Advisors to see what feels right, and then to make sure that they are looking into your best interest as a fiduciary. This will help you determine if it makes sense for you to leave your retirement plan with your former employer or if it’s better to take control of those assets and manage them yourself.
8.When should I start my Social Security?
Many people ask themselves this question. It’s a hard question to answer unless you have the right tools. This is a question for a qualified Financial Advisor that is looking into your best interest or our interactive planning tool can help you find the answer before you make this important decision. We can help you evaluate the difference in your overall financial situation when you take Social Security early, at full retirement age or defer to an older age. Keep in mind that this decision is permanent, and you owe it to yourself to see how it affects you before you commit to one of these options. It greatly depends on your situation with both work and family.
9.What type of life insurance do I buy and how much do I need?
The type of insurance you need depends on the risk you are trying to manage. Though most people buy just one type – either term or permanent – the answer is based on your current financial situation. However, typically having a hybrid of both term and permanent works well. Look for policies that can help pay with Chronic and Critical Illnesses, not just pay when you pass on. Our coaching process can help you determine whether or not you need permanent insurance, and if you do, the amount needed for your unique situation.
10. What is the best way to save for college?
Planning for and funding higher education is one of the most complicated goals a family can have. Whether it’s planning for your children’s education or going back to school yourself, there are some big questions to consider:
- Where do you or your child want to go?
- Will they go straight to university or will they go to a community college first?
- Will their chosen field need an advanced degree or post graduate studies (as those can balloon the cost of education)?
If you’re planning for your children, we recommend using a college calculator to find out what it’s going to cost based on your child’s current age, your savings and income. There are several ways to fund education —they range from taking tuition out of cash flow to putting money in education-specific plans. These plans all vary in what they are best used for, so it is imperative to know the consequences of each type of plan.
There are three main types of accounts – 529, UTMA and Coverdell. Every plan has advantages and disadvantages, so look closely or consult your Advisor to help you navigate the complicated process so you can have the confidence of knowing you’re on the right track.
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.
Contributions to a traditional IRA may be tax deductible in the contribution year, with current income tax due at withdrawal. Withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ may result in a 10% IRS penalty tax in addition to current income tax.