There are a lot of preconceived notions out there about what a financial advisor is and what they do. Often, people assume a financial advisor is a stockbroker, making daily trades and helping wealthy individuals strategically play the stock market. While some advisors specialize in investing and helping people build portfolios, there’s much more to financial advising that can benefit anyone regardless of their wealth, from a young college grad to a retiring couple. And for someone like me, who is an independent financial advisor, there’s a stronger emphasis on objectivity.
There are dozens of different definitions for an advisor but I like to define an independent financial advisor as someone who serves as an objective and trusted guide who proactively watches out for you, your family, and your assets. To be more specific, there are three major things an advisor does.
1. Keeps You Focused on the Right Goals
We all have visions for our future, some of which are realistic and others that are a bigger reach. By getting to know you on a personal level and understanding your needs and circumstances, a financial advisor can help you formalize specific short and long-term goals and prioritize by importance. This is crucial because if we have too many goals in mind, we may struggle to accomplish any of them.
A financial advisor can help you understand which goals require the most work, what you have to do to attain them, and how they affect one another. For example, many families with children may feel forced to decide between planning for their retirement and planning for their child’s college education. Or perhaps a family is considering purchasing a new home, or weighing the pros and cons of buying a vacation home and renting it out in the summer. A financial advisor can recommend different routes, help you make an informed choice, and offer ongoing assistance.
2. Answers Your Important Questions
Whether you realize it or not, you likely encounter countless financial questions throughout your life. Are you saving enough? Should you pay down your mortgage or invest the money? Does life insurance make sense for your family? How much should you contribute to your 401(k)? Does it make more financial sense for your spouse to work or stay at home to raise the kids?
No matter how big or small you think your questions are, they can significantly impact your financial future. And when it comes to your personal situation and needs, a quick Google search won’t yield the answers that are most appropriate for you. A financial advisor is someone you should be able to turn to at anytime when you have questions. I always want my clients to know they can call or email me with their questions at anytime, not just when we have an appointment scheduled. Life doesn’t always go according to plans, so you should never feel like you can’t talk to your advisor outside of a scheduled time.
3. Helps You Stay on Track as a Family
Many times, couples have different ideas about money, from how much to save versus spend to the definition of wealth. A financial advisor is like a money counselor, helping couples and families get on the same page financially by communicating their financial goals with one another and finding goals they both agree on. Serving as a neutral, third-party, an advisor can help both spouses understand the tradeoffs of their decisions and how to find balance between differing goals.
Beyond the initial setting of goals, a financial advisor also helps you implement strategies and stay on track. Financial planning isn’t a one time event. It’s an ongoing process that requires regular refinement and, possibly, major adjustments should life or economic changes dictate. Whether you prefer to regularly meet with your advisor or keep it to an annual review, you can feel more confident knowing that, should something arise, your advisor is just a phone call away.
Working with a financial advisor isn’t just about buying stocks, and you don’t need to be an established millionnaire to benefit from a financial plan. One of the best things about working with a financial advisor is that you have the opportunity to determine the extent of the planning to match your needs. Whether you want to get started with a simple budget or are ready to dive deep into investing and retirement planning, the choice is yours. Whether you’re new to financial planning or a sophisticated investor looking for advice, I’d be happy to meet with you to talk about your situation and goals.
About Mike Loo
Mike Loo is an independent financial advisor with more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. His mission is to make a meaningful impact on the lives of clients and the people they care most about, help them make educated decisions with their money, and build a strong financial foundation for both themselves and their next generation. Mike is committed to meeting a high standard of excellence, taking the time to listen to clients’ needs, and designing strategies that aim to help clients save money and reduce debt. He seeks to fit a client’s investments into their life and educate them so they’ll understand their investments. To learn more about how Mike may be able to help, connect with him on LinkedIn, call his office at (949) 221-8105 x 2128, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Loo is a registered representative for LPL Financial (LPL) and an Investment Advisor Representative (IAR) for Trilogy Capital (TC). Securities offered through LPL, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through TC, a Registered Investment Advisor. TC markets advisory services under the name of Trilogy Financial (TF), an affiliated but separate legal entity. TC and TF are separate entities from LPL.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.