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Could You Use A Financial Planner?

Could You Use A Financial Planner?

By Mike Drak

My wife (who I fondly call The Contessa) is an investment advisor at a major Canadian bank and was forced to work from home during the pandemic. As a result, I got a chance to see her in action dealing with her clients.

One thing I noticed was that early on when the markets were sharply declining she wasn’t getting a lot of worried calls from her clients wondering what to do. In fact she was doing most of the calling making sure that her clients were alright and not being overly stressed out about things.

She had taught them well over the years and not one client panicked and ran from the market in fact many were actively looking for bargains to pick up because there is nothing better than a good sale.

It was hard to see the market take a sharp drop like it did during the pandemic.

Some people felt sick watching their hard earned retirement money disappear right before their eyes. Without an advisor they could have panicked and sold out which would have been the worst thing to do.

It’s comforting knowing that you have a trusted advisor in your corner that knows what they are doing especially during a market meltdown. Watching her in action got me to thinking about how vulnerable some people really are and why for some people having benefit of a trusted advisor makes sense.

Retirement is a major life event which needs to be planned properly for. You need to figure out how best to turn your accumulated investments into retirement income and you need to ensure that income lasts as long as you do.

Some people make the mistake of being too conservative in their investing which lowers the returns earned on their portfolio. How your investments perform is what determines your monthly cash flow in retirement, and playing too safe can cost you large over time.

Because of this and for other reasons for some people it makes sense to engage a trusted advisor be it financial planner or investment advisor when they are close to retiring.

An trusted advisor can help you answer the big questions such as;

  1. Are you financially ready to retire? Do you know your number?
  2. How should you invest your retirement assets to ensure that you don’t outlive my money?
  3. When should you apply for CPP/Social Security
  4. How can you fund any unanticipated medical costs?
  5. What’s the best strategy for withdrawing from your retirement accounts in order to meet both your needs and make your money last as long as possible?

As retirement goes on other key lifestyle questions will appear such as;

  1. Should you sell your house, rent an apartment or move into a retirement home?
  2. Does a reverse mortgage make sense for you?

Having a trusted sounding board someone you can call for advice is a big help when faced with questions like this, and will help ensure that you come up with the right answers for you.

Make sure your affairs are in order

On more than one occasion the Contessa helped others who were in a jam of their own making. For some reason people tend to let some important things slide and are then surprised when they come back and bite them in the behind.

What would happen is the person responsible for the banking/investing in the family would get sick and the spouse would have no clue where anything was or who to talk to.

Passwords were missing along with original documentation and there was a mad scramble to put everything in order. Trying to get a lawyer/investment advisor/banker to attend a hospital room during a pandemic is not an easy thing to do and causes a lot of stress for the surviving spouse and their kids who end up trying to help.

Bottom line

If you don’t understand investing/retirement planning and have no interest in learning, you should seek the help of a certified professional who knows this stuff inside and out. They could help you save on taxes and avoid investing in risky, ill-advised investments. They will guide you through the various life events you might encounter, divorce, remarriage, death, career transitions, business succession – you name it, they can help you with it.

Granted not everyone needs a financial advisor but then again some people do.

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Mike Drak

Author, Retirement Coach and Public Speaker at Victory Lap Retirement
Mike Drak is a thirty-eight year veteran of the financial services and lives with his wife Melina in Toronto, Canada. Mike is the Author of the best-selling book Victory Lap Retirement and also an award winning blogger, retirement coach and public speaker. Mike has also appeared on BNN, CBC Radio and iHeart radio.