By Brittany Goodwillie, CFP®
When you hear that a firm offers “comprehensive financial planning” what exactly does that mean? You likely know that a financial advisor can tell you how much you should be saving for retirement and how best to pay down your debt. You probably know that your advisor will manage your investment accounts and help you decide when to claim Social Security. But do you know how much else a financial advisor can truly help with? Here is a quick overview of some questions you may want to ask your financial advisor.
How much house can I afford to buy?
People often think they should be asking a mortgage broker how much they can afford to pay for a house. When you go to a mortgage broker they will likely ask about your income, savings, and debt to get an idea of how large of a mortgage payment you can afford. However, they aren’t likely to ask about your financial goals, such as saving for college or retirement. They may not ask about future income sources and expenses. Often there is a lot overlooked and people are led into purchasing a more (or sometimes less) expensive home than they can afford given their goals. Your financial advisor will already know your full financial picture after completing a comprehensive financial plan and can help you make decisions on large purchases and loans such as a mortgage.
Am I paying too much for my insurance policies?
You’ve likely heard commercials telling you to get a new car insurance quote and if you’re like most people, you probably ignore them. Your financial advisor should be familiar with rates in your area for auto and homeowners insurance and will likely know if your premiums seem high. At Autumn Financial Advisors, LLC, we don’t sell insurance and we may not know where you can get the lowest rate, but we will tell you when we think it may be time to shop around for a lower rate so that you can save some money.
How much should I be saving toward my children’s college?
You can use simple tools to figure out how much you should save to help your children pay for college but it’s best to be sure that your savings goals fit into all of your other overall financial planning goals. Your financial advisor can help you decide on a realistic college savings goal. At Autumn Financial Advisors, LLC, we can educate you on all of your savings options and hold you accountable to the amount you decide to put away each month whether it is for college or another large expense.
Are there opportunities for me to save more in taxes?
You may think your CPA is the person to go to for tax-saving strategies. In reality, most CPAs are making sure that you are maximizing your savings year to year given your current situation. They most likely aren’t telling you changes you should consider to make in future years to save even more. They also aren’t likely as familiar with your future income goals to capitalize on opportunities to plan ahead to save taxes. Your financial advisor can help you to plan ahead and integrate tax planning into your investment strategy, both during accumulation and withdrawal. At Autumn Financial Advisors, LLC, we like to coordinate with your CPA to help think through any tax saving strategies that may be right for you.
Which health insurance plan is best for my family?
Did you know your financial advisor can help explain your health plan options to you? There can be a lot that goes into choosing the best health insurance plan and having someone to analyze your options and explain the differences to you can be a huge help. We often ask our clients for an employee benefits manual from their employer in order to make sure they are maximizing services offered by their employer and help them make the best decisions for them.
Your financial advisor may be able to help you with more than you realize. If you don’t have a financial advisor yet or aren’t working with a comprehensive planner who is helping you with all of these questions and more, give Autumn Financial Advisors, LLC a call and we will be happy to help.