Think your family needs help managing its money? Finding a financial advisor you can trust, may be your first step toward securing your future finances.
Do We Really Need a Financial Planner?
Aren’t the services of financial planners reserved for clients with big bank accounts, lots of investments and trust funds for their children? Not always. Today, especially in uncertain economic times, even families with small balances should consider the pros and cons of turning to a financial planner.
If your family is like many, you may be tightening your belts these days, making every trip to the grocery store count. But with shrinking retirement accounts and less confidence in aggressive investment plans, what is happening to the money you have squirreled away for future use?
It is just as important to keep tabs on savings and investments as it is to keep a tight reign on your household budget. Do you have all the information you need to make sure your retirement account remains intact, that your kids have money for college?
Now may be the time to seek advice about how to protect what money you do have, so you will still have it when you are 65.
“Most people wait too long before hiring a financial planner,” says Jim Elder, a fee-only financial planner. “We see too many people coming into our office when they are in their mid-50s, when it’s too late to make any changes. The earlier [you see a financial planner], the better, to give your family direction with their finances.”
How people run into trouble
There is absolutely nothing worse that running into a financial jam and not knowing when or where you’re going to get the money from.
Getting a bank to loan you the money takes jumping through hoops. So, what is a person to do when they have bad credit and no collateral? Searching for emergency loans to help them make ends meet and cover unexpected bills is often the first port of call. This answer of instant credit or finance is often not thought-through and poorly timed.
Taking out a cash loan to pay for emergency costs or fees can often be the easiest option, see here. Then once you get paid you can pay back the loan company.
Does this sound like you? A financial advisor or planner could be the help you’ve been searching for.
Starting the Search
Finding a financial planner can be as tricky as finding a family physician. And according to Errold Moody of San Leandro, Calif., who holds a number of finance degrees and recently authored No Nonsense Finance (McGraw Hill), the same care should be taken in seeking a planner to handle your money.
Where to begin? The prospect of finding a financial advisor worth his salt can be daunting to the average family. To start, “Seek out the financially savvy people in your community and ask them who they use,” says Elder. Local certified public accountants (CPAs) and estate planning attorneys are good sources of information.
Friends and family can also provide references. “Most of my referrals come from my existing client base,” says Dan Liberatore, a certified financial planner (CFP) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Sue Parmet of Pound Ridge, N.Y., found one of her family’s financial planners through her sister-in-law and another through a family friend.
When soliciting referrals from friends or family members, keep your special circumstances in mind. “A planner that may have been good for one family may be incapable of dealing with another due to unique circumstances,” says Moody. Ask around for information about a planner who has dealt with clients whose needs were similar to yours. For instance, if you own a business, ask fellow business owners who they work with – and who they avoid.
Once you have the names of a few good men or women, do your homework. “You should always interview at least three financial planners, just as you would get three bids for work done on your house,” says Elder.
Moody suggests you contact five or more candidates. Then draw up some important interview questions to screen the great from the not so great. Among them: What is their experience? Find out the number of years they have been in the business, where they have practiced and what types of clients they have handled in the past. The common wisdom is to find someone with at least 10 years of experience. “Since there are no residency programs for planners, a lot of time is necessary before a planner can figure out just what is going on and apply it to real life,” says Moody.
If you find you are comfortable with the planner’s experience level, ask them about their credentials. “Many planners have the CFP designation,” says Elder. “However, credentials only show that you can sit in a class and take tests. Look for experience.” According to Moody, you should even consider seeking someone with a degree in financial planning, not just a CFP designation. “After all, this is serious business, and you want someone who is committed beyond a semester’s worth of work,” he says.
Next, look at how the candidate is paid. “A planner who makes money by commissions will only be interested in selling you something,” Elder says. “Seek ‘fee-only’ advisors.” You pay a fee-only advisor a set amount to perform services for you, the client. With this type of advisor, you shouldn’t have to worry about being sold financial products you might not need, such as annuities, life insurance or mutual funds, since the planner is not dependent on commission from the sale of these services. Ask yourself: “Do you want a salesperson or an advisor?” Elder says. Moody agrees, but adds that just because a planner claims to be “fee-only” doesn’t mean he or she is the best candidate for you. Weigh experience and credentials over how fees are charged. “A [poor planner] charging a fee is still a [poor planner],” he says.
Finally, find out about the planner’s investment philosophy. What are his or her values? Do they match yours? How comfortable do you feel about the potential advisor’s ideas? If you’re not in sync with the advisor, look elsewhere.
For example, when Parmet’s “great” financial planner retired, she passed her clients on to her father, a qualified planner with years of experience. However, Parmet wasn’t as comfortable with the new advisor’s strategies. While she appreciated his expertise, she decided to look elsewhere for a new financial advisor, one who was on the same wavelength as Parmet and her growing family.
Reviewing Your Relationship
Even after you choose a financial planner who seems right for you, monitor the relationship periodically to be sure your planner continues to do his job to your satisfaction. If his performance is no longer up to par or you don’t feel comfortable with his treatment of your money, don’t hesitate to start your search again. Your financial stability is too important to allow a less-than-perfect relationship to continue.
Whether you choose a fee-only advisor, go for a financial planner with a degree or elect to hire a savvy candidate with only a few years’ experience, follow your instincts when it comes to financial planning services. Remember: You’re the boss. Stay in control, and enjoy the confidence of knowing your financial future is in the best hands.
If you want to retire “on time,” you will need to make plans now to prepare. Put together a financial plan that takes into account your goals for retirement, and work toward making those goals a reality. As you prepare for a successful retirement in the future, here are some things to keep in mind:
Consistency is Key
One of the most important things you can do as you prepare your finances for a brighter future is consistency. You need to be consistent in your savings plan, setting aside money each month. There are a number of retirement calculators out there that can help you figure out how much money you need to put into your retirement account each month if you want to reach your goal. You also need to be consistent about your spending, budgeting and other aspects of your financial life.
Debt is Bad
Nothing drains your retirement income potential like debt. All that money you are paying in interest to someone else is doing nothing to benefit you. It just leaks out of your budget and into someone else’s pocket. One of your goals, before you hit retirement, is to reduce your obligations as much as you can. Many people include their mortgage debt in this. You will feel more secure about your retirement, and have more money at your disposal, if you can pay down your debt — especially costly consumer debt — as quickly as possibly.
Fees are Bad, Too
It’s not just the interest you pay on debt that can reduce your real returns and slow your efforts to achieve your retirement goals; fees are a drain on your retirement as well. If you pay high fees on the funds in your retirement account over the course of 20 or 30 years, you will miss out on a substantial amount that could have been funding your retirement. If you want to maximize your retirement, you should look for low fee investments. Additionally, minimize transaction fees by avoiding constant trading. You should re-allocate your assets on occasion, but you don’t need to be constantly trading. That’s a good way to reduce your real returns.
Max Out Your Tax-Advantaged Accounts
If most of your investing is done for retirement purposes, it is a good idea to max out your tax-advantaged retirement accounts before you open other investment accounts. Make sure you are taking advantage of IRAs and 401Ks (you can have both kinds of accounts) before you use investment accounts that do not have the same advantages. And remember that your spouse’s contributions to accounts in his or her name are considered separate. So if you both have IRAs, you can contribute up to $5,000 to each IRA, for a total of $10,000. And while you’re at it, don’t leave free money on the table. If it’s an option, max out matching contributions from your employer.
7 Incredible Benefits of Massage Chairs
Everyone would love to have a relaxing massage after a hard day at work. Not only will this reduce your stress, it will also lower your heart rate, your blood pressure, and the levels of your cortisol and insulin.
Not everyone can afford a private masseur who will make this possible every day. For all those who can’t afford or don’t have the time for a daily massage, there is always the massage chair.
Did you know sitting for 15 minutes in a massage chair can enhance the measurable EEG activity in your brain?
Yes this is true. In fact as per a well-known study that was conducted by the University of Miami School of Medicine’s Touch Research Institute, people who sat for 15 minutes in massage chairs could perform better in mathematical testing than people who didn’t.
Still not convinced about buying a massage chair? Here are a few benefits that you should know:
Massage makes you feel good instantly
Massage is known to boost the production of endorphins in our body which is the natural “feel good” chemical in our body. This will balance your mood and make you feel better instantly.
Massage leads to better sleep
Better sleep is one of the main benefits of massage therapy. It boosts your serotonin levels which your brain will then convert into melatonin or the sleep hormone. This will reduce your stress and help you enjoy a blissful night’s sleep.
Massage can improve your cardiovascular health
Reduction of stress and lowering of blood pressure are two things massage is known to do and it is these two things that contribute to heart disease. As per studies massage can help reduce anxiety, muscular tension, and pain, in patients who have had cardiac surgeries.
Massage reduces pain
Relief can be obtained from headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, leg pain, lower back pain, and various other discomforts through massage therapy. By improving the blood flow and loosening the tight muscles, it reduces the distress symptoms that can lead to chronic pain.
Massage boosts creativity
Apart from providing various health benefits, massage therapy can also open up your mind by giving you a moment to pause and helping you relax. The release of hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins during massage will help you think more clearly with the bigger picture in mind.
Massage improves flexibility
Massage therapy works on various muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissues, thereby improving your range of motion. By stimulating your blood flow, it keeps you mobile, which means you will be less prone to injuries.
Massage can strengthen your immune system
Massage can increase the activity levels of your white blood cells, giving your body more power to fight the viruses. It also decreases the cortisol which is a natural destroyer of killer cells.
Trying out a massage chair is very important if you want to make sure you are buying the right one. Check out a few top massage chairs like luraco massage chair and find out which one works out the best for you. Don’t keep price as the only deciding factor.
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