Last time, I introduced the idea of a table-team approach to planning. The idea is that you need to be supported by a team of professionals (the legs of the table) so that you and your family can enjoy balance and stability (the table top) as you face the challenges of aging. By building your team early, you can enjoy maximum control and independence, and ensure the care of your family and loved ones.
Two of the important professionals in your life are your financial advisor and your accountant.
A financial advisor is more than just the guy who buys and sells your stocks for you. A good financial advisor is able to help you envision your goals and dreams, develop a strategic plan to manage your assets, and then invest your assets to meet those goals and dreams. They can sit down with you and discuss your short term goals (like your desire to retire or travel) and also balance that against long term needs (like the rising cost of health care). Financial advisors then look at your entire financial picture and create a plan to help you meet your needs and achieve your goals. I believe one of the best services that a financial advisor can offer is assisting you with budgeting over the short term (i.e. 12 months) and long term (5+ years). They are, in my opinion, one of the most effective tools you have to achieving short term and long term success.
An accountant similarly helps you achieve success by planning with your assets. They often work hand-in-hand with your financial advisor. They can assist you in building your dream, understanding the financial impact of decisions, and help you position yourself for maximum success. Many accountants offer more than just tax-preparation services. They can also assist in day-to-day management of your assets. In fact, I regularly recommend that my aging clients use their accountant or bookkeeper to assist them with bill pay. This allows the client and their family to live abundantly without worrying whether their bills are being paid on time, especially when facing the challenges of health or cognitive problems.
In picking a financial advisor and accountant, feel free to interview them. These relationships could last you years – and the best ones can even serve your family over many generations. Take the time to ask about their qualifications, experience, office process, etc. Get personal recommendations from your friends. Feel free to interview more than one professional before you make your choice. This is your team and you should pick the professional best capable of meeting your needs and working well with you and your family.
Don’t delay in picking your financial advisor and accountant. You want to start working with them as early as possible so that you can achieve your goals in retirement and as you age.
Cassandra Jones is an elder law and family law attorney in Gardnerville. She can be reached at 782-0040.