Now that you have your “Ultimate Financial Organizer“, you may be wondering how to fill it in. (What do you say? You don’t have yours yet? Well then, click HERE to get it!) Each of the sections are designed to be useful to you as you organize your finances. This post will discuss your finance team and the roles of each person involved.
The purpose of your accountant is to review your finances, prepare tax returns, and help reconcile your financial records at your request. Your accountant’s role may or may not overlap with the roles of the financial advisor. Most accountants work within the “past”, as far as preparing reports to reconcile previous financial actions, while the financial advisor works on future goals/ventures and attempt to project which future actions would result in financial gain.
Attorneys are great for discussing a wide variety of legal issues. Attorneys can help you write wills, set up estates and trusts, draft contracts, and represent your interests in court. Attorneys generally don’t work with your financial figures (that’s up to the accountant, banker, and financial advisor) but they understand the legal repercussions involved with certain courses of action. Everyone will either need or work with a lawyer at some point in life. It’s best to shop around in advance and find one that can assist you so that, if you need one, you won’t have to do a mad dash to find someone reputable. Your attorney should know all of the other members of your team, since the legal advice provided may very well affect the services provided by the other team members.
Regardless of where you bank, having a good relationship with one of the bank/credit union representatives is crucial. The biggest flaw I see when people discuss their banks or credit unions is that they UNDERUTILIZE the resources provided. They allow these institutions to hold their money, but they don’t ever see what benefits and services are provided, other than savings and checking accounts and loans. Either drop in or schedule a time to meet with one of your financial institution’s advisors. Let them know that you want to learn about all of the services that the bank/credit union offers. A good representative will be too thrilled to go over the details with you. As soon as you find a rep that you feel comfortable with, consider him/her part of your Finance “Dream Team”.
This person could be your accountant or your banker. You can always hire ME as well (wink wink). In any case, the financial advisor partners with you, in creating a wealth plan that mirrors your values and is aligned with your goals. The right financial advisor is a visionary, that helps make your financial dreams a reality. Just like the rest of your finance team, your financial advisor should be someone that makes you feel comfortable, that listens to you and is honest, creative, and a good communicator. Along with your attorney, the financial advisor should know about all of the other individuals on the team and have some sort of relationship with them. The advice provided by the financial advisor directly influences the services and programs you explore with the other team members.
No one wants to leave their assets vulnerable. Insurance is a must, and can very well mean the difference between years of comfortable lifestyle and a destitute existence. Many people have NO IDEA what kind of insurance they need, other than what is required by law (auto insurance for car owners, renters insurance for tenants, etc.). The key to having an excellent insurance advisor is finding one that doesn’t try to sell you EVERYTHING that the company offers. When you find an insurance advisor that focuses on creating the best insurance package for YOU, as an individual, you’ve found a winner. Always consult with your financial advisor and attorney to make sure that you have adequate insurance, and to verify that the insurance advisor has done a good job with creating a package for you.
This seems like an unlikely choice for a member of your Finance “Dream Team”. However, if you do have a religious affiliation, it’s very important that the advisor of your choice is aware of any financial plans that you have that involve your religion. For instance, if, upon your death, you plan on leaving a charitable donation to your religious group, then your advisor needs to know that. Likewise, if you have some religious justification for how you will fund certain goals (certain faiths discourage members from acquiring loans that charge interest), it may be helpful to have the guidance of your religious advisor.