NOTE: Aging Outreach Services and OutreachNC welcome Financial Wealth Advisor Nathan Cherry’s advice on creating an all-star financial team. Mr. Cherry is a local financial advisor with experience in retirement income strategies, sustainable and responsible investing and charitable giving. We are grateful to Mr. Cherry and Hicks and Associates for their valued insight regarding financial fitness.
I have a secret to confess – I am a Gordon Ramsey fan. I have been watching his shows for years and thoroughly enjoy what he does. When I was in Baltimore, I learned that he opened a ‘Gordon Ramsey Steak” restaurant, and I went with some friends as soon as I could get there. I just had to try his world-famous beef wellington. I was not disappointed.
One of the things I observed early about Chef Ramsey is the team around him. He very carefully selects and trains people to carry out specific functions in an effort to make sure everything leaving his kitchen is the best.
When Chef Ramsey goes into a dying restaurant to help, he brings an entire team (somewhat like a small army) all trained on what they will do and how to do it. When it is all said and done, Chef Ramsey’s vision is realized, but it was his team that did most of the work.
There is a great deal of correlation between the team that Chef Ramsey employs, and the team of financial professionals people should have around them. Just as Chef Ramsey has people trained in specific areas, for specific tasks, so too should each of us have a solid team of financial professionals trained to accomplish our financial vision. Let’s talk about a few of those financials professionals who should be on your financial team.
First, you should have a trusted tax professional.
Too many people are trying to do their own taxes amidst a constantly changing tax code. It seems that every 4 years (maybe 8) the tax code is changing in big ways, and it requires a new software upgrade, or a whole new program. Utilizing the skill of a trusted tax professional alleviates not only the need to stay updated with changing tax codes, but the hours of headaches required to account for the changes while filing your return.
Trusted local tax professionals are not just able to complete your annual tax return; they can answer tax questions throughout the year, address any letters you may receive from the IRS, represent you to the IRS should you ever be audited, and so much more. The cost benefit analysis clearly shows that the fee for a tax professional will be one of the best investments you will ever make. So scrap Turbo Tax and H&R Block and get connected with a reputable local tax professional.
Second, everyone should be working with a comprehensive financial planner.
Financial planning is not just for millionaires and people with a lot of money needing to know what to do with it. Financial planning, when done right, is a comprehensive service after which the financial planner can answer any financial question a client asks with black and white data. It is by far one of the most valuable services any person can utilize in knowing if they are on track to meet their financial goals.
Some of those goals may include reducing taxes, managing distributions from portfolios, leaving a legacy, and annual gifting of assets to charities and heirs.
Working with a reputable financial planner will allow you to determine how and when specific financial steps should be taken. For example, suppose you want to give money to your favorite local charity, is there a tax-sensitive way to make a donation that both reduces your taxable income and supports your favorite local charity? You bet. And a financial planner knows just how to do that.
Third, everyone needs a good estate planner on their financial team.
Estate planners are experts in knowing how each estate should be structured to ensure taxes are managed, assets go where they are intended, and chaos doesn’t ensue when a person dies. I have seen more than my share of messy estate issues because the right documents were not in place and now families are arguing over who gets what.
Should you have a trust? Can taxes be minimized during estate settlement?
These are just some of the questions a good estate planner can help address.
Surprisingly, many people don’t have complete estate documents in place. They have a Will, but forgot either their Power of Attorney documents, or their Advanced Healthcare Directives. Yet all of these documents are needed in today’s unique estate environment. Working with a local estate planner alleviates the burden on family of resolving the estate when a loved one dies.
Lastly, you should have a local bank on your financial team.
This one might surprise you. But it surprises me how often people have out of town and out of state banks as their primary bank accounts. Technology has made using a bank located anywhere in the country fairly easy. But not even technology can make settling an estate with an out-of-town bank easy. When a loved one dies, banks require specific documents that need a wet signature; so, people end up using postal services to mail documents back and forth. And if the documents are not just right, the process starts all over again.
More practically, as people get older, it can be harder to stay updated with the technology. This can result in frustration for people using and out-of-town bank to pay bills and manage their finances. Working with a good local bank can alleviate this stress and make banking more pleasant as we grow older. And it can certainly save time, money, and headaches for loved ones later.
These are just a few of the local professionals everyone should have on their financial team. These all-stars can handle just about any financial issue and, when they work together, can make most processes seamless and easy. If you aren’t using one (or more) of these financial professionals on your team, don’t wait any longer. If you are not using one (or more) of these financial professionals on your team, don’t wait any longer. Ask for recommendations and help getting connected with financial professionals today. Aging Life Care™ professionals have extensive knowledge of the needs of older adults and work closely with local legal, financial and health professionals.
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Life over 50 is complicated. From illnesses to general aging-related difficulties, there’s a lot to learn and a lot to cope with. We understand and we’re here to help answer questions and provide guidance on your options.