financial advisor
Financial Advisor, Financial Services, Investing, Personal Finance, Retirement

The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Financial Advisor

Making long-term decisions about money can be difficult and even a little scary. But with the help of a financial advisor it doesn’t have to be. Many people turn to financial advisors for help with their financial decisions. Getting educated about your retirement and wealth-management options is a necessary part of planning your financial future. Advisors offer good financial advice but deciding whether they’re worth the price can be difficult. Before deciding to consult with an advisor make sure you are aware of the pros and cons, whether you’re looking for advice on paying off debt or investing your extra income.

What is a Financial Advisor?

Financial advisors are certified professionals who help their clients tackle some of the tough questions of personal finance. They can put together a retirement savings plan with a timeline or answer any questions you may have about life insurance. A Certified Financial Planner is often not only knowledgeable about investment accounts, but other things that could impact your finances, from taxes to insurance. A few of the things that a CFP can handle for you are: meet with you to assess your current financial situation and goals; develop a comprehensive plan that addresses major areas of concern, such as retirement, college planning, insurance, avoiding estate tax, and so on; coach you as difficult financial issues appear in your life; and help you avoid major mistakes that will derail your plans.

Risks of Self-Managing

When thinking about the need of a financial advisor, think about all that you must handle on your own when it comes to your finances. You will need to compare Roth IRA providers and fill out the necessary information to open a Roth IRA. Now that you have opened the account you need to stay on top of a wide range of information such as: changes in legislation that could affect your retirement planning; changes in mutual fund options at your brokerage firm; and changes in the amount of money you can contribute each year to a retirement account. You will also need to develop a long-term financial plan that includes considerations for retirement, paying off your house, funding the kids’ college education, estate planning and a timeline for when you retire. This is something that can be done, but to get it done right you’ll need to invest a lot of your time. It’s up to you to decide if self-managing is convenient for you.

The Help of a Financial Advisor

If you’re ever feeling confused, stressed or simply ignorant of various money-management topics, then professional advice from an advisor can be very handy. Most people can’t see far enough into the future to see retirement, much less plan for it. A financial advisor will ask you all the needed questions to put together a plan and offer you advice on investments, estate planning, tax liability and your kids’ college education. The financial knowledge of an advisor will make your difficult decisions easier.

How a Financial Advisor Can Hurt

Finding a great advisor can be just as easy as finding an incompetent one that can cost you a lot of money. A few of the many ways a financial advisor can cost you your money is by churning your investments; expensive investments; bad planning; and not responding. They can get you to buy and sell more than necessary in order to generate higher commissions for themselves. Point you to mutual funds with high expense ratios when a similar low-cost index fund or an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) would be a better choice. A well-intentioned advisor who puts together a sketchy or holes-ridden financial plan is not helping you at all. Even an unbiased advisor is useless if he or she never returns your calls/emails or is MIA when your need arises.

You Should Always Get a Fiduciary

When hiring a financial advisor, you need to make sure they have a fiduciary duty to you. This means your advisor must put your needs above his/her own and always act in your best interest, offering you an unbiased view and opinion. In financial planning this guarantees that he cannot steer you toward investments that are expensive for you, just because their profitable for him/her.

How Much is the Cost of a Financial Advisor?

 Going to a financial advisor will cost you money. Some charge by the hour and some makes commissions from the investment products you buy. Others may do both. Most fee-only investment advisors charge a fee equal to a percentage of your invested assets. An unofficial industry benchmark is one percent, although advisors may charge slightly more or less. Some financial advisors earn their fees not from clients, but from banks and investment companies.

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Financial Advisor, Financial Services, Personal Finance, Retirement

When It Makes Sense to Hire a Financial Advisor

time is money

By now, many of us have seen the TD Ameritrade commercials with the bearded bespectacled financial advisor questioning his client about her plans and where she’d like to be when she retires. The client usually throws in some unexpected adventure or bucket list idea that has been in the back of her mind for a few years that nobody would guess just by looking at her. What many people need to consider before getting to this point, however, is whether their situation warrants hiring an advisor. In other words, before you wind up sitting on a couch speaking about running with the bulls someday, you should know when it’s worthwhile to seek the help of a financial professional.

My Finances Aren’t That Complicated

Understandably, many people have reservations about hiring someone to manage their money. Usually, they think that their finances aren’t complicated enough to justify outside help. While this is true for many people, it is certainly not always the case. Even a seemingly simple financial situation may be missing out on numerous opportunities to grow wealth and protect one’s assets.

For example, a widow in her late sixties with a sizable estate left to her by her husband may think that she should just continue with her husband’s financial choices because they yielded a pretty good return up to this point. However, life changes usually bring up an entirely new set of questions. Is she still paying for kids’ college educations? What kind of income does she need now to continue to live comfortably in retirement? Did her husband own a number of stocks which could be sold to offset other capital gains? Did he keep a large amount of cash in savings accounts earning very little, if anything? These are just some of the questions a person in her situation may need to consider.

The Big Picture

Have you ever heard someone talk about how they couldn’t see things clearly because they were too involved in the situation? Personal finances often fall along the same lines. Many people are uncomfortable talking or even thinking concretely about their own financial situations. One of the great benefits of a financial advisor is that he can see the big picture more clearly because he is outside the situation.

Since an advisor is not emotionally connected, he can look at your entire financial situation and figure out what challenges must be met in order to achieve your goals. For instance, he might notice when the interest on a car loan is greater than the interest you are getting on your savings account. In this case, he might advise you to pay off the loan with your savings, so you can start building capital right away without losing money by servicing long-term debt at higher interest rates than your savings account accrues.

Is an Advisor Worth the Fee?

This is one of the main questions people have when considering financial assistance nowadays, and I have to say it’s a valid concern. While there are different types of compensation models, many advisors charge a percentage of the assets under management. This fee usually ranges from 1% to 1.5% per year. Clearly, your advisor needs to add value over and above his fee to make his services worthwhile. After all, Warren Buffett has made no secret of how much fees matter to your bottom line and how you should keep your investing costs as low as possible.

The Financial Upside

The good news is that a Vanguard Alpha study recently uncovered that using a financial advisor may add as much as a 3% net gain over time to a portfolio. In other words, after paying their fees, the client winds up with 3% more than they would have had without using an advisor. This percentage may not sound like much but a 10% gain vs. a 7% gain in your annual return can result in a huge difference to your portfolio. While not everyone will see those exact gains, even a 2% gain can result in a healthy additional return over time.

In the End, It’s Personal

People often need help when changing jobs and moving retirement accounts, assessing long-term care insurance, or even deciding whether it makes sense to lease or buy your next car. These are just a few of the situations for which people are often not prepared or simply cannot deal with at the time. A skilled financial advisor, however, can look at your investment options objectively in order to plan for your future. Ultimately, the decision to hire a financial professional remains a personal one. You have to be honest about what your needs and your goals are at this point in your life, and whether the assistance an advisor provides is necessary to reaching those financial goals.

Reference

https://www.thestreet.com/personal-finance/when-is-it-worth-it-to-work-with-a-financial-advisor-14631145

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Homeowner's Insurance, Insurance, Insurance Brokers

Insurers under Critical Observation in Puerto Rico

As if Hurricane Maria hasn’t already taken a toll on most Puerto Ricans. Insurance companies are under scrutiny in Puerto Rico with 13,600 Hurricane Maria claims still open. This has resulted in thousands of Puerto Ricans being forced to close their businesses, drain their savings, or accept the idea of living with structural damage as they fight insurance companies over millions of dollars’ worth of claims. Claims that have gone unanswered or unpaid more than a year after Hurricane Maria.

What the Experts Have to Say

According to experts the Category 4 storm caught insurance companies off-guard and left them reeling financially after they were hit with nearly 279,000 claims. Real Legacy, a major insurer has already folded, leaving more than 1,500 claims worth a total of $70 million up in the air. It’s not a surprise that many worry other companies may follow. Commissioner Javier Rivera believes that it’s too early to say what will happen with Real Legacy. He also believes that the other company that exceeded its reinsurance limits, Triple-S, has enough capital to avoid the similar outcome. Executive Director of Puerto Rico’s Association of Insurance Companies, Iraelia Pernas, said “the industry has never faced such an astronomical number of claims.” “No one was prepared for that, not the federal government, not the insurance companies, no one.”

Hurricane Maria Caught them Off-Guard

Fines have already been issued by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner of Puerto Rico totaling more than $2.4 million against at least seven companies for delays in resolution and payment of claims. Exceeding reinsurance limits is highly unusual and indicates that even in the companies’ worst case scenario, Hurricane Maria was difficult for them to envision. There are two insurance companies in Puerto Rico that are also under review with negative implications.

The Aftermath of Hurricane Maria

Not only was Hurricane Maria the strongest storm to hit Puerto Rico in nearly a century, but it caused more than $100 billion in estimated damage, destroying the power grid and forcing businesses to remain closed. Hurricane Maria has taken a toll on the insurance industry, with losses amounting to $32 billion. Insurance companies in Puerto Rico have paid a total of $4.4 billion in claims, but more than 13,600 claims have not been closed.

Taking a Closer Look into Insurance Companies

An audit was recently launched into all companies by the commissioner’s office, and according to Rivera he is looking at some more closely than others. His office has received about 1,600 complaints, which is triple the amount of reports received in a normal year. Pernas says that the pending claims from Maria are complicated and involve mostly businesses, municipalities, government agencies and condominiums – which have to be reviewed with great care because they’re big.

Businesses that have Disappeared

Many people were forced to close their businesses due to Hurricane Maria. Among those was a 48 year old man who owned a restaurant in the northern coastal town of Dorado that he opened four years ago. He reported damages exceeding half a million dollars, but has only received $93,000 from the insurance company. Due to these circumstances he has used up all his savings, sold his home and transferred his daughter to a more affordable school. By December he will make the decision between staying or leaving Puerto Rico and joining the estimated 155,000 who fled to the U.S. mainland after such a catastrophic hurricane.

No Responses from Insurance Companies

Gov. Ricardo Rosello has already sued various insurance companies after officials said they did not respond quickly enough to claims filed after Hurricane Maria. These lawsuits help because they aim to prevent companies from dropping claims that have allegedly expired. The lawsuits seek $2.6 billion in damages for those who have not been compensated. Attorney, Francisco Amundaray is representing several clients pursuing a response from insurance companies. Among those waiting for full payment is a woman, who owns a pharmacy in the southern coastal town of Salinas. She reported $50,000 in total losses after Maria. She has called the insurance company several times about her claim but has only been told that it’s being processed. This has resulted in her being forced to refinance her house, cancel her daughter’s university housing, cut her staff at the pharmacy by half and reduce operating hours.

Planning for the Future

By law, insurance companies in Puerto Rico have 90 days to resolve a claim. Companies are now making contingency plans and expect to fly in claims adjusters ahead of any major storms in the future.

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Financial Advisor, Financial Services, Investing, Stock Market

How Does the Stock Market Work?

How Do Financial Advisors Make MoneyEveryone has questions about the stock market – how should they invest? How much money should they invest? How do they decide on which stocks to buy? All of these questions leave people wishing they had paid more attention in those economics classes in college! But while business courses prepare people for the theory behind investment strategies, they often do not touch on specific strategies at all. So, in order to make the most informed decision about where to invest those hard-earned savings, spend some time learning about how the stock market works so that money can work with the investor, not against them. For additional insight, consult with a financial advisor in New Jersey who can explain the ins and outs of investing for the novice investor. Continue reading

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Financial Advisor, Financial Services, Investing, Retirement

What Millennials Should Know About Retirement

Insurance Broker QuestionsThough the millennial generation is just starting to enter the workforce, they are a forward-thinking bunch. And with anyone who is looking to get ahead in their future lives and careers, preparing for a comfortable retirement is always a good practice to cultivate. However, college courses and economics classes often do not prepare students, now employees, for maximizing their retirement savings. To cut down on the myths, here are a few tips that financial advisors in NJ often give to their millennial clients.
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Financial Advisor, Financial Services, Personal Finance, Retirement

What Baby Boomers Should Know About Retirement

Financial AdvisorWhile baby boomers probably remember their first few days in the workforce, they are steadily working their way towards retirement. And it’s coming quickly! However, many baby boomers are a part of a smaller subset of their generation who do not really know how to prepare for retirement, or how to take advantage of that preparation. This article does not aim to be the definitive resource on retirement, but it does address several mistakes that baby boomers make that limit the amount of resources at their disposal when they enter retirement. So, here are a few tips and tricks according to a top top NJ financial advisor on how to avoid those missteps and better educate this generation on how to retire right.
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Financial Advisor, Financial Services, Investing, Personal Finance, Retirement

8 Ways to Retire Before 65

InsuranceThough practically everyone views the number 65 as the magical age at which they will retire and start living the life they always wanted to, who says that 65 has to be the precise age to retire ? Why not 55 or even 45? While many people may feel that retiring early, even by just a few years, is an unrealistic expectation, this definitely does not have to be the case. Instead, consider making a few small lifestyle adjustments that will have significant, positive financial impacts later in life.  Prior to consulting with a financial advisor in NJ,

consider the following eight steps which will help to save the most money for an early retirement.
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