Michelle Buonincontri, CFP®, CDFA™
Why is this important?
Have you been the one taking the backseat during your marriage in regards to finances ? If so, this would be a good time to work with a Financial Advisor. I know this all too well. My Grandfather passed away at age 62, my Grandmother was 60, and she had no idea how to write a check, pay a bill or balance the checkbook, never mind understand investments and how to save for her future.
We work hard and sometimes we save. Some folks save well and others do not. Either way, divorce can really impact your taxes, monthly spending plan (cash flow) and the certainty of a secure financial future in retirement. No one wants to work until they die. No one that I know anyway, and if you dig deep, neither do you- or at least you don’t want to “have to work”, you’d like the choice to work.
Financial Planner or Financial Advisor?
So let’s start with some basics; not all Financial Advisors are equal. Nor are they meant to be. Some focus on Investments, others Insurance products. Others look at your life holistically through the lens of comprehensive Financial Planning, of which Investments and Risk Management (Insurance products) are only 2 pieces of the puzzle. Those that are trained as Certified Financial Planners, and have a CFP® certification, typically work in the latter way. However, that is NOT a guarantee, so you need to ask. In general, a Certified Financial Planner® professional has achieved and maintains an internationally recognized standard of skills, knowledge, abilities and yes, even ethics. For more information read “Your Money Matters –How to Choose the Right Financial Advisor”.
For me, research and referrals are always great starting points. Then follow up with a meeting. Choose someone that you get a sense of “trust” from. Don’t be afraid to interview the Advisor. He/she will be working for you, not the other way around. Find out how they get paid. Look for someone that listens more than they talk, and seems to understand your priorities and concerns. Pay attention to bad reviews. After all, this is a relationship like any other, and we wouldn’t knowingly “date” the guy/gal that is cheating on his/her spouse. OK, so maybe a bad analogy, but I think you get the point. Do your homework and “Trust your gut”!
Some resources to assist in your homework:
- A Certified Financial Planner® professional must put your interest ahead of their own when making recommendations. So consider this credential when making a choice. Using a name search, you can check if an Advisor is a CFP® at http://www.letsmakeaplan.org/choose-a-cfp-professional/find-a-cfp-professional?#oname
- FINRA complaints or violations? Not good, use the name search on Brokercheck at https://brokercheck.finra.org/
- NOTE: Not everyone needs to be licensed as a Broker. They may not be selling securities products. So if they don’t have a record, or are not currently “a registered” Broker that is not a necessarily a bad thing. For example, a CFP® giving fee-only advice may not have to be a licensed broker depending on the state.
- Does the person has an insurance license that it is valid? In good standing? With no complaints? You may lookup an individual by name, regardless of the state by using https://sbs.naic.org/solar-external-lookup/
- Ask for and review their Form ADV if they have one. This brochure is the primary disclosure document that investment advisers provide to clients.
These are some beginning thoughts and not meant to be all inclusive or “advice”, financial legal or otherwise. Do your research.
The Author facilitates a monthly Divorce Resource Workshop in North Scottsdale/North Phoenix called “What Everyone should know about Divorce” sponsored by Second Saturday.
The information, tools and material presented by the Author are provided to you for informational purposes only and are not intended to be and should not be used or considered as an offer, recommendation or a solicitation to sell or an offer, recommendation or solicitation to buy or subscribe to any financial instruments, investment management services or advisory services. The Author does not intend to provide investment, tax or legal advice.