One of the most important things than that you can do for your financial health is realize when you need help and, even more, actually get help if you need it. This can be a tricky step however, especially if you’re not sure if you actually need help or not. Having too much credit card debt or not being able to pay your bills is a good basic indicator but, if you’re already at this point, you’ve waited too long.
With that in mind we put together a list of some of the signs that you might have if you need professional financial help. Recognizing the signs could help you avoid major financial pitfalls and keep your financial ship afloat. Enjoy.
Sign #1: You have no clue where all of your money goes every month. Most of us have a pretty good idea of the amount of money that comes in every month but, as to where it all goes, that’s a different story. While most people have great intentions and do their best to live within their means, the “pleasure” of purchasing something new is extremely tempting. Indeed, for many people the amount of money coming in is barely enough to cover their basic monthly bills. So, if you sit down once a month to pay bills and wonder to yourself “where did all my money go?”, you can take this as a clear sign that you need some professional financial help.
Sign #2: Your Insurance Policies are hard to understand. Understanding the financial benefits, as well as the financial constraints, of any and all insurance policies that you own is absolutely critical. If you don’t know what they cover and what your liability limits are, you could be in for some very bad news if a disaster or financial emergency strikes. The fact is that once most people purchase a home, auto, life or long-term disability insurance plan, they usually put it in a drawer or shoebox and forget about it. This makes it very hard to know if that insurance plan is adequate or even appropriate for their lifestyle. If this sounds very similar to your situation, it’s a sign that you need to talk with a professional.
Sign #3: You have not put together a Living Will or Estate Planning. The number of American adults who do not have some type of arrangement set up to put into play if they die or become incapacitated is absolutely staggering. Without any basic estate planning set up you could leave your family in a huge financial mess if you were to pass away, and they may not get what you want to leave them. The same thing can happen if you haven’t made some type of emergency arrangements for taking care of everything should you become incapacitated and unable to work. If you haven’t done either of these things you can count that as a sign that you need to talk to a professional financial advisor.
Sign #4: You are unsure about your Retirement plans. Here’s the thing; there are really only 2 kinds of people. There are those who save for retirement and then there are those were actually plan for retirement. The latter have already decided on a possible retirement age, have estimated what their living expenses will be once retired and have already mapped out there financial goals. The former randomly pick a number to put into their 401(k) or other account and not much else. Retirement planners even pick a year that they’re going to “die” so that they can back there plans up from that time and figure out exactly what they’re going to need to be able to keep up their preferred lifestyle until that time. (Morbid yes, but financially astute.) If you are a person that saves for retirement or has no retirement plans at all, you definitely need to see a professional sometime soon.
Sign #5: You’re not 100% clear about your Investments or your Portfolio. If you’re not sure whether your portfolio is meeting your goals, your “risk tolerance” or your time horizon, you might need to talk to a professional financial advisor. If you are investing that’s a great sign but not knowing exactly how those investments work, if they work best for you and how to make them work better is not a good thing.
There are many websites that can help you find an excellent professional financial advisor once you have decided that the signs point to needing one. Depending on exactly what type of financial help you’d like the fees can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand based on the scope and comprehensiveness of the help they provide.
There are financial professionals that are “fee-only”, “fee based” and also commission based, and the typical financial professional will have a specific education level and specialty. What that means is that, as with all financial decisions, you need to do your research and due diligence to find a Certified Financial Planner or other financial professional who can not only give you the advice that you need but also show you how to meet and/or exceed your financial goals.