The idea of writing financial posts makes me snicker a little bit because I never thought this subject matter would be something I’d cover on my blog, but here we are! Never say never. 🙂
I’m no expert at finances, but I think that’s what’s made some of my previous financial posts well read. My readers know I’m not some kind of pro in this area but am more like most of you in that we just want to do the best we can with what we’ve been given. For that reason, I am pretty open about how we do certain things, mainly because I know how much Jamie and I have benefitted from our friends and family being open with us.
I wrote a financial post months ago that led to two readers emailing me a similar question, which was basically “We don’t have a financial advisor, but I’m wondering if we should get one and would love to know why you guys got one. Also, how did you find one?”
Jamie and I sat down recently and came up with our own list of reasons why we have benefitted from a financial advisor. I also got a bit of input from my brother-in-law Josh and friend Wade.
10 Reasons to Use a Financial Advisor
A financial advisor is unbiased.
In the same way that it can be uncomfortable to get on the scale at a doctor’s office, it can also be uncomfortable to share your bank statements with a financial advisor. Your poor spending habits will come to light, and you may feel embarrassed about not being in a better financial position than you are. However, this is a great reason to be sitting with an advisor in the first place; don’t forget that!
They are not there to judge you. They are there to help pull you out of your mess, teach you things you do not know, and get you on the right path. Our financial advisor has reminded us often that he has seen absolutely everything. Again, they are not there to judge but only to help and teach.
A financial advisor will help you work through a budget.
The first thing we did when we sat down at our initial appointment with our advisor was work through how much money we brought in versus how much realistically goes out every month. When we pulled our bank statements from previous months and did the work to break down how much we actually spent at the grocery store or dining out, it looked quite different from what we thought.
I remember our advisor showing us a figure of how much liquid cash we actually had available to spend once our bills were paid, cars were gassed up, and groceries put in the refrigerator, and it was very eye-opening.
A financial advisor will steer you in the right direction of college planning.
Even though I’m in denial, I know that it’ll be time to discuss college with our daughters before we know it (HOLD ME). That’s why Jamie was adamant that we start planning for college as soon as possible. Our advisor shared with us a figure of how much to expect a four-year in-state tuition to be by the time we have college-aged kids, and it was alarming. From there, he looked at our budget and helped us set an amount to auto-deduct each month into their funds that will help us toward hopefully assisting with our girls’ future education.
A financial advisor will help you set up life insurance.
At our first or second appointment, we discussed how much money Jamie or I would need if the other passed away. Discussing topics like this is heart-wrenching, but man, there is such security in a responsible conversation like this that I’m so glad we’ve had. Our advisor looked at our current policies via the Army and Jamie’s employer and helped us hammer out what additional policies we should take out.
PS: Taking out a new life insurance policy generally requires a physical, so don’t be surprised if you need to go somewhere specific to have this done or if they set up someone to come to your home. The healthier and younger you are when you take out the policy = the cheaper the policy will be.
A financial advisor will help you with long-term savings and purchasing big-ticket items.
How do we save for cars? Home improvements? Vacations? Other life luxuries that aren’t necessities? We have to enjoy life too, right? Our financial advisor helped us hammer this out and set up certain funds to do so. This has been a game-changer for us that has allowed us to be excited about buying big-ticket items such as furniture, vacations, or vehicles without feeling guilty or putting us in a financial bind.
A financial advisor will get you on track for retirement.
This step takes a while but it’s obviously incredibly important. Our advisor looked at our current retirement situation and made suggestions for what to move around, how to additionally invest, etc. This topic bores me to death but I know it’s crucial. I’m just thankful Jamie really enjoys the investing side of the house. 😉
You can/will build a personal connection with your advisor.
This person will learn about your family, your financial fears and goals, etc. and help you make the best decisions for your family unit. A good advisor won’t make suggestions based off of what everyone is doing, but rather will look at your individual situation and make sure your future looks bright. I don’t know about your family, but our finances change all the time, with the addition of a new kid, or a new van we have to buy out of nowhere, or a new income stream, etc. etc. etc., and an advisor should be there to walk you through positive and negative financial changes.
A financial advisor is someone you can/should work alongside your with spouse.
Being 100% transparent and having frequent conversations about our finances has only done positive things for our marriage. Even if finance isn’t a topic you or your spouse enjoy or know much about, working with an advisor is still the chance to learn and get on the same page about a topic that often causes tension in many households.
A financial advisor may give you stock market advice.
Once your advisor gets to know you, he or she will likely look out for you with your best interests in mind and make suggestions when necessary, even if you hadn’t asked.
A financial advisor will give you a reality check.
I remember Jamie and I meeting with our financial advisor about 18 months before Jamie left active duty, and we told him our plans for getting out. We also shared with him that we intended to buy a house at our next location and wanted to have X amount of money saved for the down payment. We then asked his advice for the best avenue to get there. I’ll never forget his face. He basically looked at us and was like “Uhh, yeah, about that. Based on your income and bills right now, it’s not actually possible to get there in 18 months.” WELL THEN.
So that was a rough reality check, but it was so necessary because we were able to revise our plan from that point on instead of wasting our time on a goal that wasn’t actually realistic.
How to find a financial advisor
This is strictly my opinion, but Jamie and I believe that word of mouth is the best way to find the right advisor for you. Ask your parents or financially-savvy friends who they use and if they’d recommend him or her. Then make the call or send the email and go from there!
My personal recommendation is our good friend Wade Merritt. He works on a team that specializes in all kinds of different financial scenarios and can take on almost any client. (I know I have a good bit of military readers, and he did assure me that someone on his team was former military and extremely knowledgable of military finance.)
Wade is extremely intelligent, a man of integrity, passionate about his field, and one of the nicest guys I know. He bends over backwards to make sure his clients are on the right track financially. If you don’t know where to start with finding an advisor, I’d shoot Wade an email immediately and go from there! I know he’d be thrilled to work with you.
And it goes without saying that this isn’t sponsored in any way. We just adore Wade and view him as a very trustworthy, wise professional in his field. I’d hate to give you all of my personal opinions and then be like “Sorry, no advice on who to use though!” 😉 I hope you get in touch with him soon if you need an advisor! His email address is WMERRITT@STRATEGICFINANCIALPARTNERS.COM
I’d love to hear about your personal experience with your financial advisor, if it’s been positive, and other reasons why you would suggest using one!
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 5 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo