Do Retirees Need Financial Advisers?

Here is how to determine if you need professional investment help in retirement.

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Retirees live on a fixed income, hopefully have financially independent children, and have a straight-forward financial mission: Not running out of money while alive. You’re focused on maintaining and spending down your nest egg, more than growing it. So, once you retire, do you really need a financial adviser anymore?

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I am a financial adviser and most of my clients are retirees. So, naturally I believe that many retirees need a financial adviser. However, you might be surprised to know that I don’t believe that every retiree needs a financial adviser.

Retirees who are convinced they don’t need an adviser are probably right. People who are certain that they have all the answers aren’t going to take the advice they are given. Why pay an adviser if you aren’t going to take advantage of the council? If you are retired, feel confident that you can handle your own retirement investments, and don’t want help, don’t hire an adviser.

Other people who don’t need an adviser include those who are happy with their investments and don’t need to make any big financial decisions. Let’s assume you’re on top of your estate planning needs, manage your own investments with good results, and have projected that you aren’t likely to ever run out of money. People in this situation probably have no debt, a great credit score, and plenty of income. If this describes you, you don’t need to hire a financial adviser, but you might want to think about becoming one.

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However, some retirees might benefit by hiring the right financial adviser. If you don’t feel comfortable with the way you manage your money or the results, you would be wise to seek out the council of a financial adviser or money manager. And if you don’t have enough income, a professional might be able to help you find the best investments for retirement income.

People who are approaching retirement with debt might also benefit from professional advice. The problem might be spending, low performing investments, or a combination of the two. A financial adviser could be pivotal in determining what the problem is and helping you find a solution.

If you haven’t done retirement projections that examine how long your savings is likely to last, you should either create your own financial plan or hire an adviser to create one for you. A financial plan will project out your income, expenses, and assets.

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While there are plenty of reasons retirees may need to hire a financial adviser, there are also plenty of reasons not to hire one. If you decide to use a financial planner, make sure you know what you want the adviser to fix prior to holding interviews.

Neal Frankle is a certified financial planner and runs Wealth Pilgrim, a personal finance blog that helps people make smart decisions about their money. As a start, he suggests that you strive to understand your credit score range.