In the financial industry, there are often issues that arise which you don't have the first clue how to handle. This is where you benefit from the advice of a trusted financial advisor. While you may not always understand or agree with the strategies your financial advisor is using, ultimately, you are grateful to have a trusted advisor that has your back. This is especially true with a situation you are unwilling or unable to handle. Many times, our clients at ChappelWood Financial Services have told us, "It's a good thing you were there" or "You're worth your weight in gold."
1. Re-balancing Your Portfolio
Not just your investments, but everything. This will be a time when you truly depend on your advisor. After meeting with one of our clients, we reviewed her investment performance for the quarter and a few other items. She discussed wanting to roll over another account she had left over from her employer before retiring and needed to know where to put it. We had seen some nice growth in her investment accounts and were slightly overweight there because CFS believes in a balanced portfolio for the highest client success. We were underweight on her guarantee of principle accounts which are protected. Knowing this, it was an easy choice to add that money to the guaranteed account, she got a 7% bonus and now we are back in balance. When your advisor is able to sit down and not only customize a financial plan for you, but also knows your individual goals, you are more likely to succeed.
2. Managing Cash Flow From Your Retirement Accounts
Our clients, in their 70s, were taking Social Security and Required Minimum Distributions from their retirement. They brought us their tax return and said, "These taxes are killing us. What are we doing wrong?" After reviewing their tax filing, we noticed that 85% of their Social Security was being taxed because they were taking income only from their tax-deferred accounts where they had paid no taxes. Meanwhile, they had $100,000 sitting in cash not working for them. Our solution was elegant, and simple: take only the required from tax-deferred accounts and make up the difference with the cash. As a result, their taxes were reduced by more than $6,000 and the percent of their Social Security taxation fell from 85% to 67% just from adjusting their cash flow.
3. Avoiding A Titling Nightmare
Working with our clients quarterly allows us to better prepare for situations or life changes that come happen. Our client had lost her husband. They were both young. She inherited an IRA as a surviving spouse and had the option to roll the IRA into her own or keep it as inherited in his name. She was getting advice to roll the account into her own, which is typical advice. However, there was a real chance she was going to need some of that money to support herself and her children. Being younger than 59 ½, if she re-titled it under her name, it would be subject to early withdrawal penalties. We advised her to keep it titled as inherited because making a withdrawal would not be subject to the 10% penalty. It has been proven that irresponsible financial decision are made when emotions are heavily charged. An advisor protects you from yourself in situations where it is difficult to see past the blinders of life events.
A good financial advisor will do more than manage your investments. They will help you manage your entire financial life.