Questions To Ask a Financial Advisor About Retirement
Whether you’re still saving for retirement at 50 or in your mid-60s and preparing to retire, it’s essential to find the right advisor to assist you. Knowing the appropriate questions to ask can help you evaluate your options and select the best advisor for your needs.
- Written by Brandon Renfro, Ph.D., CFP®, RICP®, EA
Brandon Renfro, Ph.D., CFP®, RICP®, EA
Retirement and Social Security Expert
Brandon Renfro is a Retirement and Social Security Expert and financial planner. He focuses on helping clients create a secure financial future in retirement and co-owns Belonging Wealth Management. He is also a former finance professor and writes for several publications.Read More
- Edited ByMichael Santiago
Senior Financial Editor
Michael Santiago joined RetireGuide in 2023 as a senior financial editor. He is a professional writer and editor with over 10 years of experience creating content for a variety of industries, from travel to health care. Michael combines his strong writing skills and editorial judgment with his passion for creating accurate and engrossing content on RetireGuide.Read More
- Published: April 28, 2023
- Updated: May 4, 2023
- 6 min read time
- This page features 2 Cited Research Articles
- Edited By
- The right financial advisor can help you develop a personalized retirement plan that addresses your needs and reduces risk.
- Knowing which questions to ask can help you identify if an advisor is the right fit for you.
- Personality and qualifications are both important aspects of your decision.
6 Retirement Planning Questions To Ask Your Financial Advisor
Choosing a financial advisor to help you with your retirement planning is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.
Before interviewing advisors, it is important to have a clear understanding of what you are looking for. Although an advisor can assist in clarifying and quantifying your goals later, taking the time to think through your goals in advance will give you an idea of what you want the advisor to accomplish for you.
When seeking advice, it’s important to consider the advisor’s planning philosophy. To ensure a good fit, ask questions to gain an understanding of their perspective. Keep in mind that advisors may have varying opinions.
Below are some examples of questions to initiate the discussion.
What Retirement Income Options Are Available to Me?
As you enter retirement, one of the most pressing questions to consider is how to generate income from your assets. For many, this marks a significant psychological and emotional shift since they have spent decades building up their nest egg.
Working with an advisor can help you understand your options and create a plan that may involve regular withdrawals from your account or purchasing specific investments that produce cash flows, such as interest-paying bonds.
How Can I Ensure My Retirement Income Lasts for My Entire Lifetime?
The primary concern for retirees is the possibility of running out of money. A retirement advisor can assist you in evaluating the level of this risk and suggesting ways to mitigate it. This could involve maximizing your Social Security benefits or encouraging you to minimize your expenses if necessary.
While it’s important to be wary of advisors who appear too aggressive, purchasing an annuity with a portion of your savings may be a viable option for addressing this issue. Annuities provide a guaranteed income stream during retirement, but they also come with risks and potential downsides. A financial advisor can help you assess the pros and cons of annuities and determine whether they are a suitable addition to your retirement plan.
How Much Can I Afford To Spend in Retirement?
A trained advisor can assist you in determining your retirement spending capacity based on your unique circumstances. To address this issue, your advisor will need to understand your investment preferences, income sources and planning horizon.
The response to this question is also influenced by your level of comfort with adaptability. If you are willing to make periodic adjustments as needed, you may be able to spend more.
What Is the Best Age To Claim Social Security Benefits?
Determining the ideal age to claim Social Security benefits is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. A competent advisor understands that various elements, such as your unique timeline, alternate income sources and anticipated lifespan, must be considered before reaching a conclusion.
How Can I Plan for Long-Term Care in Retirement?
About two-thirds of 65 year olds will require long-term care at some point in their lives. Failing to prepare for this eventuality exposes your financial stability to a significant risk.
Your advisor may suggest various tactics, such as self-insurance if you have ample assets, acquiring a long-term care insurance policy and enlisting family members in your care plan.
How Can I Manage Taxes in Retirement?
Effective tax management during retirement can save thousands of dollars and extend the longevity of your savings. A retirement income planning specialist can propose methods to minimize your tax liability throughout retirement.
To achieve this goal, it’s crucial to consider the larger picture rather than focusing on reducing taxes on an annual basis. At times, it may be reasonable to raise taxes in one year to lower them in subsequent years. For example, performing Roth conversions before receiving Social Security benefits or RMDs may be beneficial.
How Can a Financial Advisor Help Me Plan for Retirement?
Financial advisors can assist with a wide variety of financial issues, but those specialized in retirement planning can help you tackle the specific concerns necessary for a comprehensive retirement plan.
- Financial advisors can help you understand the necessary amount of money to support your retirement lifestyle.
- They can assist in developing an income plan that covers all sources of retirement income, such as Social Security, pensions and savings withdrawals.
- Financial advisors can aid in managing taxes to optimize efficiency.
- They can create an investment plan that balances stability with the need to grow savings.
An advisor can also help you identify risks you might face and suggest ways to protect yourself from them.
For example, an advisor might suggest that you reduce inflation’s long-term impact by recommending changes to your investment mix, improving your withdrawal plan or addressing it directly with inflation-protected bonds.
Tips for Choosing the Right Financial Advisor
The right advisor for you is a personal choice, and your advisor should be someone with whom you are comfortable. Before hiring someone, interview them to get a feel for their personality and values. Pay attention to how attentive they are to your concerns and needs. Remember, you may work with this person for decades, so make sure it’s a good fit.
Of course, expertise plays a large role too, and some advisors specialize in planning for retirement income. One way to assess an advisor’s qualifications to help you is through their training and credentials. There are many financial advisor designations, but some of the most common for retirement-focused advisors are Certified Financial Planners (CFP®). Although not a retirement-specific credential, this is widely considered to be the hallmark financial planning certification, and retirement topics are 18% of the exam.
- Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®)
- Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®)
- Retirement Management Analyst (RMA®)
Choosing an advisor to help you with retirement is a big decision. If you plan on hiring one, start interviewing advisors well in advance of your retirement date so that you have plenty of time to make your decision. Additionally, there may be steps an advisor recommends you take before retirement to put yourself in the best position possible.
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2 Cited Research Articles
- Acl.gov. (n.d.). How Much Care Will You Need? Retrieved from https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs/how-much-care-will-you-need
- CFP.net. (n.d.). What You’ll Be Tested On. Retrieved from https://www.cfp.net/get-certified/certification-process/exam-requirement/about-the-cfp-exam/what-youll-be-tested-on
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