You know where your expertise ends and that “gray” zone of knowledge begins. These can be your blind spots OR you can choose to build out your personal team of experts.
Why have a personal team of experts?
- Reliability that something is being done well
- Transfer of liability or risk
- Confidence you do not have to worry about gaps and balls dropping
- Simplification of life
- Trusted resources to call if/when you need them
- Contacts to share with those you care about when they have problems too
Building out your team is especially important when you are the sole decision maker in your household.
A divorced woman managing all the finances in her household for the first time needs to sell a home and buy another home. She has never made this type of decision before, much less evaluated all the details. How does she know what is right for her and who to trust? Building a team – financial planner, mortgage consultant, and realtor – empower her with education and confidence. This woman can reassure her friends who are worried that she isn’t alone and has a team behind her!
A widow grieving through change and uncertainty is one who needs a team to rally around her. Each expert can provide specialized technical and emotional support, as applicable. It is important to have a safe place to talk about her emotions, the grieving process, and how to imagine a different than expected next chapter. And then slowly outline priorities on a manageable timeline. Imagine that feeling of protection when at most moments she may feel vulnerable and alone.
Here are the must have experts for building out your team:
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
Not all financial advisors are created equal and not all are compensated the same way. Know the difference between fee-only and fee-based. Make sure to find a fiduciary who is putting your interests above his/her own!
Next, since the title Financial Advisor can be easy to obtain, focus on what is not easy to achieve: being a CFP(R). This designation stands for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and signifies the practitioner passed the CFP(R) exam, has a certain amount of applicable experience, maintains continuing education requirements, and is held to the highest ethical standard. This is not a requirement for our industry, so it represents a commitment to demonstrating higher standards. Take the time to research them and find one in your area.
This relationship is personal, so it is vital to have an authentic connection. Money is the means to helping you achieve your best life, so connect money to your purpose through proper financial planning.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) / Licensed Tax Professional
But what is the difference and which one do you need? The CPA has advanced training and can guide you on the strategic level and address complex tax situations and planning. If you are seeking basic tax preparation, then a licensed tax professional may be all you need.
As life gets more complicated, consider hiring a CPA (step 1) and then ensure all of your financial professionals collaborate (step 2). At Spark Financial Advisors, we do a lot of tax planning for clients which is why we work closely with their CPAs. If you need help connecting with a rock solid CPA, please contact us. Collaboration between professionals means no one money decision is made in a vacuum.
Estate Planning Attorney
Again, there is a range of professionals here. Places to start looking would be the estate planning council near you (here is Richmond’s) or finding an ACTEC fellow in your area. Another reliable resource is asking your other financial professionals who they trust.
As an adult, you are never too young to get a basic set of estate planning documents; this applies to 18 year olds leaving the nest. Parents, after your kid turns 18, you technically have no legal rights, so please consider Power of Attorney and Advanced Medical Directive documents…just in case you need to access the medical records to help in a crisis or even just a mishap!
At age 18, a person can expect to move approximately 9 times in their life. Be prepared if this includes buying and selling properties. The realtor is one financial professional who’s contacts may help you in all seasons of life, not just the home financial transaction. When we relocated we leaned on our realtor for many new business and personal contacts. Think electricians, plumbers, doctors, daycare, and any other resources you may need to connect with in your new community.
Unique Experts for your team!
Now expand the reach of your team to cover more than the financial needs in your life. Let’s get creative building out your team even further!
- Therapist/Mental Health Provider
- Mastermind Group
- Life and Career Coaches
- Professional Organizer
- Babysitters and daycare
- Pet Sitters and dog walkers
- Meal Delivery
- Lawn care
- Mobile spa, holiday decorating, laundry
- Long-term care facility placement and continuing care community decision making
- Concierge Services
- Resume Writing
- Travel Experts
- Home Visit Pediatrician and EMT
Maybe you already have contacts or if you are like me, have those go to friends you ask. If not…lean on us. We have trusted resources in each of these categories and others.
Spark Financial Advisors is committed to being in your corner and providing you the confidence with all money decisions in life!