June 3, 2010

You and Your Financial Advisor, The Perfect Team

By Steven D. Brett, Managing Director, Partner, Marcum Wealth

You and Your Financial Advisor, The Perfect Team

No matter how much money you have saved or how much money you earn, there are important times in your life and changes that occur when talking with a professional advisor makes sense.

Almost every major life event and change – finding or losing a job, getting married or divorced, having a baby, buying a home, sending a child to college, selling a business, retiring — is likely to have a major impact on your finances. A new job may mean you are making more money — no problem there as long as you know the best way to invest it. Getting married may mean you have a second income to count on, but now you have someone counting on yours as well. Buying a house means you have to come up with a lump sum of cash for a down payment, get used to monthly mortgage payments and meet the expense of house repairs.

With any important financial goal or more comprehensive financial planning need you’ll want to work with a specialist. Ideally the Financial Advisor and investor should work together, as a team, to identify the proper strategies or find the right investments, and make informed decisions that can help meet financial and investment objectives.

Financial Advisors help you understand the “big picture”, and develop a comprehensive plan to meet your unique circumstances. A qualified financial advisor can help you sort through your current financial situation, help you set short- and long-term goals and objectives, then present a “blueprint” designed to show you how you can meet your goals while staying within your means.

In addition to a comprehensive financial plan, many investors rely upon Financial Advisors to help them manage their investment portfolio. Below are some keys to developing a partnership with a financial advisor that likely will provide the best possible combination of service and long-term financial and investment results.

Review your investment and overall financial objectives. Your Financial Advisor will help define your investment objectives, but he or she needs your assistance to do a thorough job. Start to think through your objectives before you meet. Your participation and feedback will greatly aid your Financial Advisor in formulating a financial plan and investment strategy that fits your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance.

Your questions will lead to being an informed client. Be sure you fully understand the financial strategies and investments your Financial Advisor recommends for your portfolio and financial plan. If you don’t, it’s your responsibility as the client to let your Financial Advisor know that you need more information. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your Financial Advisor’s recommendations and advice, after all they’re your investments and plans!

Understand the risks with each strategy and investment. It’s important that you fully understand the risks in every strategy and investment you own as well as the reasons why the value of your investments may rise and fall. Your Financial Advisor can help explain the risks involved with each type of strategy and investment, and your questions will help make sure that nothing is overlooked. If you don’t completely understand the risks associated, ask more questions until you do.

Meet regularly to review your financial plan and portfolio. Use these meetings to your advantage; go over your current financial plan and investments. Review the investments performance and evaluate other investment opportunities. Scheduled meetings with your Financial Advisor are also a good time to inform him or her about significant changes in your life that could require shifts in your financial plan and investment strategy. Also, major changes in the economy or new tax laws should also prompt a review.

Maintain up to date records. Make sure your confirmations and account statements are reviewed and saved in a safe place. These documents help you monitor your investments on an on-going basis and will be useful come tax time. When you come across something you don’t understand, ask for assistance from your Financial Advisor. The key is being an informed client and investor, and keeping good records will aid you in this regard.

There’s nothing more certain than change. And just as you learn to adapt to the changes life throws your way, you can count on things changing with your finances as well.

This material was prepared by Raymond James for use by Steven D. Brett, President of Marcum Financial Services LLC., of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.

If you have any questions pertaining to this article, please contact Steven D. Brett at 631-414-4020 or by e-mail at [email protected].