If you have been following along with our financial wellness series, you have identified your North Star and established your personal financial goals. Congrats, that’s a great achievement! Now comes the hard part. How are you going to achieve those goals? What strategies are in place to make sure you are tracking the right metrics and have created a plan will work for your lifestyle? The good news is you don’t need to do it all by yourself! Consulting with experts to guide you and keep you on track is critical to reaching your goals. How do you know what expertise you need? How do you find the right partners? Read on to learn about the various roles you need to build the right team to reach your financial goals including a banker, investment advisor, insurance agent and attorney.
Banker: Having a banker on your team is a must! Please note that it is not enough to just know your banker’s name—they must know you personally. This relationship can prove to be very beneficial to your overall financial goals, particularly when you need assistance with lending or account issues. Your strongest relationship should be with the branch manager who has the power to assist with all banking needs. If you meet the qualifications to be a client in private banking, make sure that you take full advantage. In private banking, you are assigned a private banker who is dedicated to fulfilling all of your financial needs at high levels. This may include lower interest rates on loans and lines of credit, no service charges for deposit accounts, free checks, creative financing options, quicker approval processes, access to fund managers, CPAs estate attorneys and much more. It is an entirely different world of banking! The qualifications and services vary by institution, so call your bank to see if you are eligible. Most credit unions or smaller banking institutions may not offer such services. However, most of the national and regional banks do. Be sure to get a fee schedule so you know exactly what they’ll be charging you for these services.
- Vetting Tip: Be sure the bank is FDIC insured. Also, there is not a specific site to check the backgrounds of every banker or private banker so perform a Google search.
Investment Advisor: Your investment advisor plays a critical role to help you meet your financial goals by recommending the right investments based on your North Star, time horizon and risk tolerance. Establish a relationship with a financial advisor you can trust. They will meet with you to assess your current financial circumstances and develop a comprehensive plan that is customized for you. As your portfolio grows, you may want to hire more than one investment advisor to make sure they don’t get too relaxed with managing your money. It is all about earning a net return that is high enough to meet your goals. A little competition can go a long way to benefit your cause. In addition, you will be prepared with the necessary information to steer the meeting in the right direction.
- Vetting Tip: Research them on FINRA.org to see if they are licensed to sell you the investments offered and see if they have been disciplined or sued. The first license you want to see is the Series 65 which means they are bound by the law to invest your money according to your financial goals and not their own personal or company goals. If they don’t have a Series 65, it’s a non-starter. Keep it moving and find another advisor. While you’re checking them out on FINRA.org, scroll down the page to see if they have complaints, lawsuits or a criminal record. You will also see various licenses such as the Series 7 that allow them to sell all products. The important thing is to make sure they are properly licensed to sell you the products they are offering you.
Insurance Agent: You want to have a very good relationship with your insurance agent in the event you have a claim. Insurance companies are for-profit which means that the business model is to collect as much as possible in premiums and pay out as little as possible in claims. A solid business rapport with your agent can ensure that your claims will be processed as quickly and painlessly. In addition, they are the conduit between you and the claims adjuster and may have some influence. Going further, they should offer tips on how to decrease your current premiums and provide recommendations on insurance coverage based on your goals and priorities. Remember, insurance premiums are partly based on your credit score (personal) or DUN and Bradstreet rating (business). In most cases, if your score increases, your premiums should decrease and a diligent agent will make sure of this.
Vetting Tip: Call or visit the website of your state’s insurance commissioner to vet the agent. Provide the name of the agent and the license number to confirm the status of their license and to review any complaints.
Attorney: Identify an attorney who can provide you with legal advice or representation in the event that you need it. The legal industry is very specialized; therefore, you may have more than one attorney in the same firm or different firms. For example, an attorney who helps you to protect your intellectual property or copywriting rights, will be different from your succession or estate planning attorney; these are two very specific areas. Please understand that there are no “all-in-one” attorneys; you never want to be under-represented. Pay for quality representation; although it can be expensive, you will be glad you did.
- Vetting Tip: Research the attorney by checking with your state’s bar association to check the status of their license and any complaints or lawsuits that have been filed. Also visit lawyers.com and legalmatch.com for affordable options. Be sure to hire an attorney that is licensed in your area of need.
Last month, we asked you “Do You Believe that a Financial Wellness Program Would Improve Productivity at Your Workplace?” The results of this survey revealed that 90% do believe that a financial wellness program would improve the productivity of their employees!
We invite you to take part in this month’s poll. “Are You Happy with Your Current Financial Team?” Scan the QR code with your mobile device or click on the link below to participate. The results will be revealed in the next column. See you next month! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NXNK5NJ
-Sidney and Saundra Curry
BC Holdings of Tennessee, LLC creates new pathways for everyone to achieve balanced abundance by delivering comprehensive financial education and wellness training. Find us online at www.bcholdingsllc.com. Connect with us on Instagram @bcholdingsoftn and Twitter @FinTipQuickies.