10 Key Concerns to Keep in Mind While Hiring a Retirement Advisor

When we consider streamlining our finances and saving money, we tend to often think about only the short term. We generally save up for short-term goals like buying a car, house or paying off debts. What the majority of people skip considering, unfortunately, is long-term planning.

Retirement planning, especially, may not be the priority for a lot of individuals. New earners have much to achieve and a long way to go for retirement, or so they believe. Many realize the benefit of starting to save towards retirement early, much later in life. The power of compounding is stronger when you give your savings extra years to grow.

Nonetheless, let’s face it, retirement planning is not as simple as putting money away. There are many factors such as inflation, policies such as RMDs, and even taxation to consider before establishing a retirement fund for yourself. If you are unsure of how to manage your finances and save for retirement in the most effective manner, consider hiring a financial advisor. Specifically, a qualified and experienced retirement advisor can help you devise clear-cut financial goals to help you save better for retirement with the most suitable retirement planning strategy.

Who is a retirement advisor?

A retirement advisor is a financial expert that specializes in retirement planning strategies. These professionals help individuals guide their savings and draft a plan to manage finances in the retirement years.

A retirement planner mainly holds official certifications like Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist (CRPS), Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (RPC), or Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP). These retirement planners may operate individually or may choose to work with a financial services institution or a firm.

How can a retirement advisor help you?

The primary role of a retirement advisor is to assist individuals who want to plan, save and invest for their retirement. A retirement advisor may start with risk profiling and obtain all other relevant information like your income, number of family members, dependents, assets, and liabilities. All these indicators, along with a retirement goal, will help a retirement advisor develop the best investment strategy for you.

Retirement advisors help investors by making retirement planning less complicated through effective retirement planning strategies. This reduces the stress of researching, choosing investment products, monitoring performance, rebalancing, etc., and saves time and effort by a considerable margin. Also, hiring a retirement advisor early in life may help individuals create a nest egg for retirement more efficiently. A professional planner working to secure your retirement is a safer option than opting for the ‘trial and error’ method. The expertise of a retirement advisor goes a long way in ensuring that you get the best retirement planning strategies.

The bottom line is that finances and investment decisions are complex. It takes a professional to help you make the best decisions to grow your wealth for a happy and financially secure retirement.

Looking for a qualified financial advisor? Use Paladin Registry’s free matching tool. Our free match services connect you with 1-3 background-verified financial fiduciaries who may be able to help you with your unique requirements and set you up for a comfortable retirement.

10 key concerns to consider when hiring a retirement advisor

1. Defining your retirement goals

This is the foremost thing you need to address when you hire a retirement advisor. Before getting an expert to help you with retirement strategy, ensure that you chalk out your personal retirement goals. The retirement advisor must help you understand your expenses and make an estimate for how much money you would need to live comfortably. Of course, this must include the inflation, rising cost of medical care, etc.

[See: How to Protect Your Wealth From Inflation]

Need help protecting your retirement funds from inflation? Answer a few questions on the Paladin Registry platform and get connected with 1-3 professional financial fiduciaries that may be suited to help you. You may set up an interview with the financial advisors before you decide to engage with one.

Another critical question to answer at this stage is whether you want to work right until retirement age or not. Additionally, countless retirees choose to continue with a limited workload as a way of keeping themselves occupied. Of course, the plans could always change along the way, but in general, this could be a good stage to figure out if you would like to retire early and not work until 60. These things will help your retirement advisor tailor the best strategy that meets all your retirement goals.

2. Differentiating between a financial planner and a retirement advisor

One important thing to keep in mind is that a retirement advisor is a type of financial planner. They may have the same expertise and education. But, the major difference is that while a financial planner makes comprehensive financial plans, retirement advisors only help with retirement strategies. That is their area of specialization and they are most suited for this kind of requirement.

Moreover, a retirement advisor’s job, by and large, is to educate the client about the appropriate investment option (if their risk appetite permits), identify actionable steps to take, and help with taxes so that the client has a decently large corpus in retirement to suffice through the lifetime. The decision to take the advice and act on it however rests with the client in both cases. 

3. Understanding financial advisory fees

Hiring a retirement advisor will take a lot of strategizing off your hands. However, this comes at a cost. It is paramount to understand the fee structure that a retirement advisor charges. Ask them if they work on a retainer, charge by the hour, or have any other fee formats. Some retirement advisors also work on a fee-only basis where they charge a certain percentage. Many retirement advisors also earn a commission on the products they recommend. Make sure you understand all caveats before you hire a retirement advisor. While hiring an advisor is a great decision, it should not eat into your capital. 

4. Choosing between an independent financial advisor or a firm

As mentioned before, some retirement advisors work independently, while others work with an investment firm or a banking institution. Each, with its benefits and pitfalls. Individuals may opt for an investment firm where they will be assigned a retirement advisor or a similar specialist based on their goals and portfolio scale. On the other hand, independent retirement advisors may have more experience handling the retirement portfolios of hundreds of people in the past. With retirement advisors in a bank, there could be a bias when recommending investment products. They may offer services hosted by the bank instead of unbiased advice. Hence it is necessary to choose the right retirement advisor lest you want your finances disrupted.

5. Considering the financial advisory services offered by the advisor

The range of services offered by one advisor may differ from others. For example, some advisors may provide a complete suite of services- right from setting a goal, making investment strategies, tax planning, and even helping with identifying how social security sits in the retirement plan. Some of them may offer to realign your investment strategy. Other retirement advisors may provide specific services. Therefore, it becomes crucial to compare the services provided by a retirement advisor before hiring one.

6. Evaluating your tax planning needs

Tax planning is one of the most crucial aspects of retirement planning. If not addressed, high taxes in the future can erode your savings and eat into your retirement corpus.  Hence, a retirement advisor must consider various tax implications and their impact on retirement savings. Be it IRAs, insurance products, real estate, and other investments. A retirement advisor should be able to address all your tax woes. Ask your retirement advisor about tax considerations and understand if they can help you.

[See: 10 Tax-Planning Questions to Ask your Financial Advisor in 2021]

7. Assessing your estate planning needs

For HNWIs and UHNWIs, estate planning is a crucial concern while planning retirement. Individuals who need the services of an estate planner must consider if their retirement goals will require estate planning. Some retirement advisors may also help you with estate and legacy planning as a part of streamlining your finances for the future. Consequently, identify how you want your estate to be managed when you retire. You may choose to actively manage it or pass it to your heirs and oversee the management.

8. Determining the duration of your financial advisory services

Not all people want acute guidance when it comes to personal finance and retirement planning. Many people find it comfortable charting their territory after gaining some insight from a retirement advisor. Some may also just consider the advice and make their own decisions. Such people gain advice and keep the relationship with a retirement advisor short. On the other hand, some individuals want a long-term partnership with retirement advisors and consult them for every decision.

Choosing the duration of your partnership should be one of your critical concerns while hiring a retirement advisor.

9. Noting the right questions to ask your advisor

A retirement advisor is a person who you entrust with the responsibility of helping you out with your finances for the future. Thus, it would help if you made an informed choice about who you are getting into your business. Share all your concerns with the retirement advisor and allow them to break everything down for you carefully and rather simply. Be it about the fees they charge, the extra commission they receive, or about risks involved with retirement planning – be in the clear about any doubt you may have.

10. Ensuring that the advisor is a fiduciary

One of the most important concerns for you should be to ensure whether the retirement advisor you have chosen is a fiduciary or not. A retirement advisor who is a fiduciary will always keep your interests as a priority and will never recommend a financial product or instrument which monetarily benefits them and not the client. A non-fiduciary retirement advisor may suggest products for which they receive a kickback or a commission. Generally, financial professionals who are certified financial planners (CFPs) uphold the fiduciary standard.

Bonus tip: Evaluating your comfort level with your advisor

Out of all concerns, this should perhaps be number one. If you are not comfortable with a retirement advisor, the relationship may be bumpy, and you may not get the best deal for your money. If you do not feel on the same page with them, see red flags, or think that there is a conflict of interest, it is better to look for a new retirement advisor.

Conclusion

Retirement planning is anything but a walk in the park. It requires careful strategizing, meticulous planning, and calculated investment decisions. Retirement planning is not a one-time passive activity. It requires constant monitoring and active reworking to yield results in the long run. When you hire the right retirement advisor, you gain professional financial insight and a mutually beneficial relationship for life. Therefore, you must consider all aspects of hiring a retirement advisor and choose one that best suits your interests and someone you can bank upon.

Looking to connect with a qualified financial fiduciary to effectively plan for your retirement? Use Paladin Registry’s free advisor match tool to match with qualified advisors who may be able to help you with your specific queries and create customized plans for you. Using Paladin Registry’s free match tool, answer a few questions and get matched with 1-3 fiduciaries suited to meet your unique financial needs. You may also set up a free initial consultation with them before deciding to hire one.

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