Of course they’ll help you with your investments and a plan, but there’s one often-overlooked thing good financial advisers do that can be even more valuable than that.

Admitting you need help is hard. Paying for that help is even harder. And paying to get help saving money … well that seems downright ridiculous to some people.

But I find those who think it’s unnecessary to pay for financial advice usually don’t have a clear idea of what an experienced, knowledgeable adviser can do for them.

Good financial strategizing extends well beyond where and how you invest. Here are three areas where having a trusted adviser on your side can add value to your retirement planning:

Portfolio Construction

This is the nuts and bolts of investing, but it goes much further than buying and selling stocks and other securities. An adviser who is familiar with your goals can put together a plan that will help guide you to and through a successful retirement. They’ll work with you to determine your risk tolerance based on your financial and emotional ability to handle market volatility. They can create a diversified asset allocation that will hold up better in the event of a market downturn, and ensure you have a tax-efficient plan that’s protected against inflation. And they’ll look for investments that best fit your needs at the lowest cost to you.

Wealth Management

Your asset allocation will remain critical throughout retirement — you can’t just set it and forget it. As you get closer to retirement, you’ll probably want to take a more conservative approach to the markets, and allocations can drift from their targets over time, posing new risks you might not even be aware of. (In today’s bull market, for example, stocks can easily become a larger percentage of a portfolio mix than planned, making you more vulnerable in a downturn.)

You’ll also need a balanced withdrawal strategy to minimize taxes in retirement. This requires understanding where you will be on a marginal tax level each year, and then gauging the best way to take the money from any tax-deferred accounts (traditional 401(k)s and IRAs) and tax-free accounts (Roth 401(k)s and Roth IRAs). Your financial adviser can help you keep as much of your nest egg as possible.

Behavioral Coaching

This is an often-overlooked part of a financial professional’s job — and it’s arguably the most valuable thing your adviser will do for you. That’s because investors tend to get emotional when the market is at extremes, and that can lead to bad decision-making. People get greedy when times are good — taking on more risk than they should. And they get scared when times are bad — selling low or moving everything to cash. Your adviser will listen to your worries, help you differentiate between rumors and reality, and offer moral support as you stick to your plan.

Performance is important. But to make the most of your hard-earned savings, you should be looking beyond returns. Your financial professional can help you minimize taxes and volatility, optimize your income streams and ensure you stay on the road map designed to best reach your retirement goals.


About the Author:

Tony Zabiegala helped found Strategic Wealth Partners and serves as Vice President and COO. He is an Investment Adviser Representative and licensed insurance professional. He believes in providing clients with the highest level of proactive wealth management guidance possible. Zabiegala spends most of his days developing innovative long-term financial strategies, one client at a time. He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Cleveland State University.

Kim Franke-Folstad contributed to this article.

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