By Claire Wood
For many of us, we consider our personal finances, well, personal. Whether you were raised to think of speaking with others about money as rude or taboo, or whether there are some roots of pride or shame surrounding money it can be one of the most difficult topics to discuss outside of your immediate circle.
While it is true that there should be some level of privacy and protection around sharing your actual numbers with the multitudes, there is practical wisdom in pinpointing a strategic team of specialized individuals to help you along in your personal finance journey. It is possible to self-educate and self-manage many aspects of your financial life, but why not consider leaving some of the details and finer points up to trained specialists in a variety of areas?
To borrow from a sports mantra, teamwork makes the dream work! This clever slogan is accurate for helping you to get your financial life in order and accomplish your goals. Read on for five players you should consider recruiting to your very own money team in 2023.
Financial Advisor or Wealth Planner
The first role you should consider filling on your money team is a certified financial advisor or wealth planner. Financial planners can help you to see the big picture, set both long and short term money goals, as well as guide and direct you through a plan to ensure that your hard earned dollars go on to multiply in the right kind of investments along the right timeline for when you expect to need your assets the most.
Tax Advisor or CPA
Generally speaking a tax advisor or certified public accountant (CPA) will be a huge asset to have around when it comes to filing your income taxes. Tax advisors know the ins and outs of current tax laws and are often able to help consumers maximize tax write-offs and credits that you may qualify for. If you happen to have any special contingencies like having a side-hustle, doing periodic contract work, own or manage a rental home out of state, or have had a recent windfall or inheritance gift, a tax advisor can help to make sure you are not just legally handling these money moves, but also that you aren’t over-paying in taxes when there could be alternative ways to stretch your dollars.
Insurance Advisor or Risk Manager
Quite literally, a risk manager does just what the name implies — manage risk! Risk managers or insurance advisors will help you to understand the most cost-effective ways to protect your assets, quantify various categories of risk, and correlate coverage or protection. Having the proper insurance (life, home, auto, medical) and the right amount of coverage is a vital component to a complete financial picture.
Banking Advisor or Lending Professional
Many banks and financial institutions offer professional financial advice, but be sure to understand that there is a difference between someone who can advise you at a bank on products like mortgage lending and savings or money market accounts versus making investments into stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
Not all bankers are actually certified financial planners. Many banks will offer in house services that provide a variety of financial services, but quite typically your day-to-day banking advisor or lending professional will differ from a financial planner. Banking experts know the best interest rates and mortgage loan products that are currently available. Additionally, having a personal banking advisor may benefit you as they can often help save you fees on many of their products.
A Mentor, Cheerleader, or Someone Who Is Winning with Money
Finally, the remaining spot on your money team should be reserved for a personal mentor or someone you know who is winning with their own money. As you might suspect, financial, tax, risk management, and banking advisors are all paid professionals who have a financial interest in helping you. Good and trustworthy advisors will always disclose any fees or charges you’ll incur up front and in writing. (Never agree to any services that you don’t fully understand or know what you’re paying for!)
However, there is also an important role a money mentor can play. Someone who you admire for the way they handle their personal finances and their good money habits can actually rub off on you. By walking closely beside someone else who values good fiscal decision making, goal setting, future planning, and living with solid financial practices, you will be able to glean practical wisdom as well.
Whether this person is a relative, a good friend, a work colleague, or even a credible personal finance YouTuber, there is power in proximity.
This year, as you begin to make important decisions for both the short-term and long-term financial goals you have, assess which voices you are listening to and taking advice from. If you haven’t already, begin to assemble a team of helpers to guide you along your journey.
For specific needs for wealth and investment management (including a complimentary portfolio review), a mortgage quote, or to run your numbers in a life insurance calculator, AAFMAA can help!
About Claire Wood
Claire is a Military Spouse who calls home anywhere the Army sends her. She loves reading, hosting friends, and keeping houseplants alive. She shares on Instagram @home_sweet_military_home and her 2015 book, Mission Ready Marriage is available on Amazon.