We always take extra care of our cars and go to a mechanic for a tune-up, and we see the doctor for regular check-ups to make sure we stay in good health.
Yet when it comes to our finances, we don’t appear to seek the same kind of professional help. Even though money is a top stressor for everyone, according to a 2016 study by CFP board, only 35% in the U.S. currently say they work with a financial professional. Working with a financial advisor can help reduce some of that money stress from your life.
So, what is a financial adviser?
Well, financial advisers can go by a variety of titles, but basically, they are qualified professionals who can help you meet the goals you have for you and your family, whether that’s the vacation you want to take next year, the student loans you want to pay off, the house you want to buy or the dream retirement you want after you stop working.
There isn’t a single professional designation that indicates that you’re working with a qualified financial adviser, however, what’s more important, is that your financial advisor is not just qualified and competent but is also recognised and licenced by a top European Financial Regulator.
The regulator will not just make sure that the adviser is qualified and received adequate training and experience, but will also act as your sentry as the advisor is conducting business for you.
How to work with a financial advisor
To get a sense of where you are today and where you want to be, a financial adviser will meet with you to understand where your income and assets stand; what sorts of debts you have outstanding; and what you’d like to accomplish with your money, along with the timeline by which you’d like to reach your goals. He or she can then put together a financial plan that details how to get there, as well as show you how to readjust your plan. The end game is to balance your dreams with your financial obligations and everyday expenses — while making sure you’re enjoying life at the same time.
To help ensure you’re making progress and staying on track, your financial adviser will also likely want to speak to you on a regular basis, depending on what your financial needs will be at any given point in your life. If you’re going through a big life change — like getting married, growing your family, or preparing to retire in the next few years, for instance — then you may have to make adjustments to your budget, your investments and your estate plan, among other parts of your finances. A financial adviser can help with that.
A financial adviser can also take a look at the big picture and see where you may need to put measures in place to help protect your family, your assets or your income. For instance, he or she can help determine if you’ve got enough to cover your family’s expenses in the event you pass away, or if you’ve got enough capital and insurance to replace your income in case you become too ill or injured to work.
Think of a financial adviser as the person in your life who can help keep you accountable on money matters big and small, while giving you the bird’s-eye view of where your finances stand now — and where they can help you go in the future.
ELP Finance LTD is authorised and regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). Click here to view our investment advisory services.