5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Financial Specialist

Jared Faltys

Financial planning, business tax planning, investment advisory services

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As a business owner, if you are considering partnering with a personal financial specialist (PFS), you are on the road to mastering your financial future. You may have reached a position in your small business where you have accumulated enough assets and feel the need to work with an expert. 

And most importantly, you want an expert that understands you and your family — your goals should become their goals.  

You are also likely consciously living to a financial philosophy of saving and investing for retirement. Many people are usually unsure about the right time to start working with financial planners as they have many presumptions. While nothing is ever assured with the volatility of the market, it’s natural to have reservations.

With that in mind, it is always prudent to first do some research geared towards getting your business to a good financial position. Certainly, you can approach a financial planning agency, but how can you be sure they are right for your business? You will be involving a third party to manage significant aspects of your business’s finances, from investments to retirement planning.

Personal financial specialists can give business owners peace of mind that their finances are in good standing, even amid a volatile market.  Couple that with the expertise of a CPA, and your business will be in good hands.  Here are five questions you need to ask before hiring a personal financial specialist to understand if you are ready for the partnership. To learn more about how we help serve small business owners throughout Norfolk, Nebraska and the surrounding communities, browse our additional resources.

1. What Is Your Investment Strategy?

This is a critical question as it gives you a quick snapshot of your position in terms of savings and investments. It guides you on which assets and goals can gradually build a portfolio.

A successful investment portfolio comprises four elements —  diversification, passive allocation, tax efficiency, and cost-efficiency. However, there is no standard portfolio as your objectives and goals will keep changing. 

So, how often do you monitor and adjust it? Are you setting SMART goals and objectives? Anytime you decide on a strategy these are the kind of questions to ask among others.

Bringing in a financial planner will ease the pressure of ensuring your strategy aligns with your objectives. The key is to generate the long-term plan and adjust as needed with the guidance of a financial planner. 

2. How Organized Are Your Finances?

In a 2019 CNBC and Acorns Invest In You Savings Survey, it was reported that 75% of Americans were managing their finances without professional help. While working with a financial planner is a personal decision, one may be essential regardless of how organized your finances are.

As your business portfolio keeps growing, you may struggle with managing the planning, risks, and budgeting. A financial planner not only has experience and knowledge, but they are also a trusted fiduciary. Having the fiduciary quality means they are professionally and ethically obligated to you.

Your personal financial specialist will recommend high-quality investments while lessening any risks that could erode them. In addition, you get to be in the driver’s seat of your investments as the planner handles all the complex tasks.

Lately, there is an increasing trend of unconsolidated 401ks and IRAs of millions of Americans due to moving jobs and other life changes. As a result, they lose out on capitalizing on their retirement accounts, likely because they have no idea what to do.

A financial planner can help you decide on the best options, such as rolling over an old 401k to an IRA while dealing with technical tax matters. They can also help you consolidate your 401ks, IRAs, and other investment accounts. Overall, having an organized financial plan will help you have a good idea of where you stand regarding your finances.

3. Are You Making a Life-Changing Decision?

Involving a PFS in significant financial milestones and decisions such as selling your business or buying new machinery is sensible. For instance, with selling a business, you have to consider multiple factors such as the correct business valuation and taxation issues.

A financial planner has the patience and skills to read through the fine print to avoid being shortchanged. Also, they will ask the right questions which will give you a unique perspective about any important financial moves. They will help you avoid making potentially costly mistakes such as undervaluing your business or missing tax-saving opportunities.

4. Is Tax Planning Becoming Overwhelming?

Financial planning and tax planning are interconnected. Taxes are part of everyday life and unfortunately, many small businesses tend to overlook their tax planning. 

Currently, advisors are influencing their clients to take prompt action after President Biden proposed the doubling of the capital gains tax from the current 15-20%. If it passes, you will pay double the tax after selling an asset. 

At this point, a financial planner is valuable as they engage in wide areas including income tax planning, estate tax planning, and individual income tax return preparation. You will be able to stay on top of strategies such as claiming tax credits and minimizing taxable income. 

Your planner will be in the middle of managing important financial decisions that have tax implications. If it is a solo project, you can easily overlook costly tax mistakes accompanied by complex jargon and policies affecting your business’s longevity.

5. What Is Your Retirement Plan?

Do you know where finances will come from when it’s time to retire? Are those finances substantial enough? Having a clear picture of your retirement assures you of a comfortable future.

When a PFS comes into play, they will have to ask questions about your goals, objectives, and vision. This helps them customize a comprehensive financial plan for your retirement. It will guide them on which investment allocation is most suitable depending on your income level and the time factor.

As more people continue to work beyond the retirement age of 65, retirement planning is evolving too. What matters is that your plan is safe from market changes, ensuring that you will enjoy a golden retirement.

Ready for a Personal Financial Specialist?

The road to financial independence is not an easy one, but it is possible. It is worth noting that anyone can benefit from a financial planner, despite their income level and net worth.

You are also right to question the credentials and commitment of a financial planner to your financial goals and plans. Does their financial philosophy match yours? Are they capable of streamlining your investment strategy, retirement plan, and tax planning?

Hiring a financial planner is a personal decision that requires careful consideration, and asking the above questions will guide you to choose the best one. At the end of the day, the planner becomes an extension of your family.  

McMill CPAs & Advisors in Norfolk has helped many business owners and their families work on their financial and wealth plans. Beyond offering investment advisory services, we help our clients manage complex tasks such as tax planning, estate planning, and business consulting services.Our client-friendly online platform will help you get acquainted with our resources, services, and our industry-wide experience. As financial planners, we understand any concerns you may have about your financial plans. If you are looking to work with dedicated and experienced financial planning experts in the Norfolk, NE area, please contact us.