Financial Advisors Are for Everybody

If you worry about your finances—you’re not alone.  Seventy percent of adults who participated in a recent Consumer Financial Literacy Survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and NerdWallet said they worry too. And while three in four people agree they could benefit from getting professional financial advice, they haven’t. Why?

“Many people think that professional financial advisors are just for the wealthy,” says SchoolsFirst FCU’s Investment Manager Craig Floerke. “But nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone—no matter what their financial circumstances are—can benefit from meeting with an advisor.”

Another finding from the survey revealed that while people said they worried about their finances, 92% said they were confident about making big financial decisions such as buying a car, new home or refinancing a mortgage.  Yet with some not even budgeting for monthly expenditures or paying bills on time, it appears Americans may be overly confident about their financial literacy. That’s where a professional can really make the difference.

“No matter how financially savvy people may think they are, the advisor’s role is to help with financial decision making,” says Floerke. “And everyone can benefit from having an objective voice to guide them.”

A professional financial advisor can tackle many financial situations or topics—from managing day-to-day finances, improving  your credit, or building an emergency fund—to investing for retirement and estate planning.  And while people often think professional advice is cost-prohibitive, many financial institutions such as SchoolsFirst FCU provide complimentary financial advice.

“I encourage people to put aside their reservations and set up an initial consultation,” says Floerke. “An advisor is not there to judge, but to help identify challenges and opportunities.”

How to Prepare for a Financial Advisor Meeting

The first time you meet with a financial advisor, you may wonder how to get started, what questions to ask and what information to bring with you.

You’ll want to know more about your advisor and how he or she is compensated for services. Many financial institutions provide professional financial advisors at no cost to you, so take advantage of this valuable benefit.

Bring a list of your concerns such as debt reduction strategies, budgeting and how to put more toward your savings. Also, are there any health concerns for you or your loved ones that may take a toll on your future finances?  What are your investment goals such as saving for retirement, leaving a legacy, starting a college fund?  This will help inform your advisor.

A Money Snapshot

Bring the following to your first visit:

• Income documents such as W-2s that show your current income
• A list of your monthly expenses including mortgage, rent, loans, credit card balances and what you spend on food, gas, utilities, childcare, etc.
• Investment account statements from other institutions including any 401(k) and IRAs
• Life, health and auto insurance documents
• Current tax records

The first step on the road to financial security is developing a plan that you can stick with. Then, as your income and financial obligations change, your advisor will help you adjust your plan.

Securities sold, advisory services are offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with SchoolsFirst FCU to make securities available to Members. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, may lose value, no financial institution guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution. CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. is a registered broker/dealer in all fifty states of the United States of America.

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Extra Credit provides general information to help improve our Member’s financial lives. Every situation is different, so please contact us for guidance on your specific needs. The advice provided in Extra Credit is not intended to serve as a substitute for speaking to a loan representative, financial advisor, or BALANCE counselor who can help tailor a solution for you.

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