The world 50 years ago was a lot different than it is today. An individual often worked at the same job all his or her adult life, lived in the same house, and stayed married to the same spouse. In those days, too, one spouse could support a family, paying for college ordinarily didn’t require taking out a second mortgage, and people could look forward to retiring on Social Security and possibly a company pension.

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Today, your hopes and dreams are no different. Like most people, you may want to buy a home, put your children through college, travel, and retire with a comfortable income. However, the world has become a more complex place, especially when it comes to your finances. You may already be working with financial professionals – an accountant or estate planner, for example – each of whom advises you in a specific area. However, if you would like a comprehensive financial plan to help you work toward a secure future, you may benefit from the expertise of a client advisor. It can be helpful to have an experienced professional to walk alongside you and your family as you make significant decisions and experience changes over the course of your life.

Services a client advisor may provide

Even if you feel competent enough to develop a plan of your own, a client advisor can act as a sounding board for your ideas and help you focus on your goals, using his or her broad knowledge of areas such as estate planning and investments. They work to connect and learn, so each client’s goals and dreams guide their plan decisions. Specifically, an advisor may help you:

  • Set financial goals
  • Determine the state of your current financial affairs by reviewing your income, assets, and liabilities, evaluating your insurance coverage and your investment portfolio, assessing your tax obligations, and examining your estate plan
  • Develop a plan to help meet your financial goals, which addresses your current financial weaknesses and builds on your financial strengths
  • Make recommendations about specific products and services (many advisors are qualified to sell a range of financial products)
  • Monitor your plan and periodically evaluate its progress
  • Adjust your plan to help meet your changing financial goals and to accommodate changing investment markets or tax laws
Some misconceptions about client advisors

Maybe you have reservations about consulting a client advisor because you’re uncertain about what to expect. Here are some common misconceptions, and the truth behind them:

  • Most people don’t need a client advisor – While it’s true that you may have the knowledge and ability to manage your own finances, the financial world grows more intricate every day. A qualified client advisor has the training and expertise to help you navigate a steady path toward your financial goals. They can specifically evaluate your situation, and help make tailored recommendations.
  • Client advisors serve only the wealthy – Some advisors do only take on clients with a minimum amount of assets to invest. However, many only require that their clients have at least some discretionary income. Each person’s financial situation and goals are different and client advisors can accommodate many unique circumstances.
  • Client advisors are only interested in comprehensive plans – Client advisors generally prefer to offer advice within the context of a client’s current situation and overall financial goals. But client advisors frequently help their clients with specific matters such as rolling over a retirement account or developing a realistic budget.
  • Client advisors aren’t worth the expense – Like other professionals, client advisors receive compensation for their services, and it’s important for you to understand how they’re paid. But a good client advisor may help you save and earn more than you’ll pay in fees.
How are client advisors compensated?

It is important to understand how client advisors are compensated. While compensation varies depending upon the firm they work for, there are typically four categories – salary based, fee based, commission based, and commission and fee based. If you are considering working with an advisor, you should request more information on compensation and decide if it will work for your own personal circumstances.

When is it time to consult a client advisor?

In many cases, a specific life event or a perceived need may prompt you to seek professional financial planning guidance. If you already have a financial plan in place, life events may also create a need for a plan change. Such events or needs might include:

  • Getting married or divorced
  • Having a baby or adopting a child
  • Paying for your child’s college education
  • Buying or selling a family business
  • Changing jobs or careers
  • Planning for your retirement
  • Developing an estate plan
  • Coping with the death of your spouse
  • Receiving an inheritance or a financial windfall

In these situations, a financial professional can help you make objective, rather than emotional, decisions. Plus, you don’t have to wait until an event occurs to consult an experienced professional. If you choose to work with a client advisor, and once you establish a plan, it is important to continue sharing with the advisor as life continues to change. They can help identify when it may be time to make an adjustment to your plan. If this sounds like something that may be helpful as you set life goals, consider scheduling a meeting with an Arvest Wealth Management client advisor. They can help you develop an overall strategy for approaching your financial goals that not only anticipates what you’ll need to do to reach them, but remains flexible enough to accommodate your evolving financial needs.

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This information is not intended to be and should not be treated as legal or tax advice and is for informational purposes only. Please consult a licensed professional for legal or tax advice.