Retirement & Financial Planning Report

You may have an attorney and an accountant and possibly a financial planner. If so, you might be getting good advice but it’s your money that all these advisors are working with, so you should always watch out for your own interests:

Choose a quarterback. If you have three or four advisors, they all can’t be in charge. It’s up to you to pick one, who’ll look at the efforts of the other advisors, to make sure they’re not working at cross-purposes.

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Read your statements. The advisor who’s acting as quarterback should be preparing financial statements on a regular basis. Ideally, you should be able to see a personal balance sheet–a report of your assets and liabilities.

The liability side of the balance sheet should include a home mortgage, if you have one, plus any credit card or other debt and any personal loans. The asset side of your balance sheet should include everything you own: cash on hand, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, life insurance, and so on. Look for a good mix. If you are heavily weighted toward one market sector, that’s a red flag.

Get second opinions. Even though one advisor acts as a quarterback, the others should play a role, too. Show your statements to your other advisors, to get their reaction. As long as you’re paying advisors, get their advice.