“My wife and I need help.” We’re in our 50s, working, trying to sell our house, and barely in debt minus our student loans. But financially we want to do better. Should we get professional help?

How to find the right financial advisor for you.

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Question: My wife and I need help. We’re in our 50’s, selling a house, working full time and barely in debt, minus some school loans. Otherwise, we pay off everything every month. We want to maximize what we have. How could a financial advisor help us? What exactly should we be looking for? (Are you also looking for a new financial advisor? This tool can help you find an advisor that fits your needs.)

Answers: A financial advisor can help you with issues such as investing, money management, tax planning, retirement planning, insurance planning, and giving. They can also help you by evaluating the consequences of your next decision. “As you sell your home, you’re probably wondering whether you should buy it and downsize into a cheaper home, not buy it at all now, or instead rent it and use the proceeds from the sale to invest in long-term growth to achieve your goal, maximizing what you have,” says certified financial planner Eric Roberge, founder of Beyond Your Hammock, who notes that an advisor can help with such decisions.

All decisions involve trade-offs, and the best advisors help clients work through the if/then scenarios and understand how an outcome in one area of ​​their financial life might impact their progress in another. “With that clarity, customers like you can consciously choose what you want to do based on what matters most to you,” says Roberge.

Having a problem with your financial advisor or looking to hire a new one? Email [email protected]

What should you look out for in a consultant?

You should probably look for a fee-based certified financial planner, pros say. “A paid financial planner is more likely to address your concerns without trying to sell you a product or an investment,” says certified financial planner Scott Vance of Trisuli Financial Advising. A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professional has hours of coursework, hands-on experience, and a fiduciary duty that means making decisions in the best interests of their client. (Are you also looking for a new financial advisor? This tool can help you find an advisor that fits your needs.)

You may want to find someone who is knowledgeable about the issues you are trying to address. To find out, you can either ask them or search their website for a detailed explanation of the services they provide. As well as making sure they cover the topic or problem area you’re looking for, ask them if they’ve worked with clients who have similar financial situations to yours. Get references too.

In your case, for example, you might want a financial planner with a niche for handling student loans. “Based on your age and some loan forgiveness programs, it’s possible that your student loans are forgivable,” says Vance. You’ll also likely need help with investment management, “particularly as you approach retirement and have questions about how to most efficiently access the wealth you’ve built to fund your lifestyle,” says Roberge.

(Are you also looking for a new financial advisor? This tool can help you find an advisor that fits your needs.)

Other things to consider at your age and life stage are planning for long-term care and depending on your income, and potentially building Roth IRA conversions into your retirement plan, pros say. “As people move into part-time or counseling as a pre-retirement phase over the next few years, it may make sense to convert traditional retirement savings into Roth savings to fill certain tax brackets. These are just a few timely considerations a counselor might work through with you at this stage in your life,” says Certified Financial Planner Danna Jacobs of Legacy Care Wealth.

When embarking on the journey of finding a financial planner, One Up Financial’s certified financial planner Eric Presogna recommends interviewing multiple advisors and focusing on those who will work with you to define what is “maximizing what we do.” This is a good indication that they genuinely want to help you, rather than charging an AUM. Here’s our guide to the 15 questions to ask every consultant you hire.

What can all this cost? While it is not uncommon for many planners to charge a fee of 1% of assets under management, there are many planners who charge hourly rates of between $200 and $500, or even one-time planning fees of between $1,000 and $10,000, depending on the complexity of the project financial situation of the customer. Keep in mind that fees are often negotiable.

Having a problem with your financial advisor or looking to hire a new one? Email [email protected]

The consultant questions have been edited for clarity and brevity.

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