What Does a Financial Advisor Do and Why Do You Need One?

DREW B. | June 10, 2024

Did you know that 78% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck? What about retirement funds—more than half of adults don’t have any money in a retirement fund. And it isn’t always for reasons you might think. Employers are paying less and less, and the cost of goods and services continues to rise. This makes budgeting far more challenging than ever before.

So, how do you break the cycle and get ahead, ensuring you can live comfortably and have enough set aside for the future? This is where working with a financial advisor can help. And the truth is that financial planners are not just for the wealthy—they’re for anyone who wants to master their finances and take better control of their financial future. 

A financial advisor going over details and plans

What is a Financial Advisor? 

You’ve likely heard of financial advisors. In fact, you may have crossed paths with some of them throughout your career and even in your personal life. But, many people don’t completely understand what these financial professionals do and how they can help. 

A financial advisor is a professional who helps you make smarter financial decisions. They offer advice on saving, investing, growing your money, and even taking out online loans. They can also help you plan for big events like buying a house, saving for your kids' college, or retiring comfortably. What they are not are magic money-makers; they provide guidance based on your financial situation and goals, not guarantees of wealth.

Here are different types of financial advisors:

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP): These advisors have passed a tough exam and have met high education and ethical standards. They can help with all parts of your financial life, like planning for retirement, saving for education, and managing your taxes.
  • Investment Advisors: These advisors focus on helping you make decisions about investments like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. They're great if you're looking to understand where and how to invest your money to meet your financial goals.
  • Wealth Managers: These advisors offer services that are often useful for people with more money to manage. They deal with a wide range of financial planning services and investment management, often coordinating with other experts like tax advisors or lawyers.

What Does a Financial Advisor Actually Do?

Now that you know what a financial advisor is, we get it—just what do they actually do? And how do they offer advice? Well, financial advisors dive deep into your financial life to give you the best advice. They look at how much money you make, what you own, your debts, and other financial commitments. Understanding these details helps them figure out where you stand and what steps you can take to improve your financial health.

Here’s a more specific breakdown of how financial advisors can help.

Assessment of Financial Health

Financial advisors start by collecting all the necessary information about your finances. This includes your income, expenses, assets (like your home or car), and any debts you have. They analyze this data to get a clear picture of your current financial situation. This assessment helps pinpoint areas that need improvement and opportunities to make your money work better for you.

Goal Setting

One of the most important steps in financial planning is setting goals. Financial advisors work with you to identify what you want to achieve in the short term (like saving for a vacation) and in the long term (like preparing for retirement). Setting these goals is important because it gives you a clear target to work towards and helps the advisor tailor advice to your specific needs.

Developing Financial Plans

After setting goals, advisors develop a comprehensive plan that includes strategies for saving, investing, managing taxes, choosing the right insurance, and planning for retirement. They tailor these strategies to fit your risk tolerance and the different stages of your life. This personalized plan acts as a roadmap to help you reach your financial goals.

Ongoing Management and Reevaluation

A financial advisor doesn’t just set up a plan and then disappear. They stay involved, providing regular updates and adjusting your financial plan as your life changes, like if you get a new job, have a baby, or face unexpected expenses. They also monitor your financial progress and realign your goals as necessary to ensure you remain on track to meet them.

A financial planner going over a plan with a couple for their financial future

Why Should I Use a Financial Planner?

You can indeed manage your financial planning on your own. And many Americans do this quite successfully. And, 35% of Americans trust financial advisors to help them with everything we mentioned above. Here are some of the reasons you might want to join the ranks of that 35% of adults in the U.S. that have sought out help from one of these financial professionals.

Expertise and Knowledge

Financial planners bring professional knowledge to help you navigate complex financial strategies and markets. They understand the latest regulations and can use this insight to manage your money better. With their expertise, you can make the most of your investments and secure your financial future.

Customized Financial Guidance

Each person’s financial situation is unique, and a financial planner recognizes this. They provide personalized advice that aligns with your specific financial conditions and goals. The benefit of having a tailored financial plan is that it is customized and designed to maximize your financial potential and meet your needs.

Accountability

A financial planner helps keep you accountable for your financial goals. They conduct regular check-ins and offer motivational support to ensure you stay on track. This ongoing engagement helps you maintain discipline in your financial practices, making it easier to achieve your objectives.

Peace of Mind

Working with a financial planner can significantly reduce the stress of managing your money and planning for the future. Knowing you have a professional guiding your financial decisions can give you the confidence to make informed choices and secure your financial well-being.

Cash Store Can Help with Your Short-Term Financial Needs

If you are in a financial pinch and need a bit of help to scrap by while you wait to work with a financial advisor, Cash Store can help. We offer a variety of loan options, including installment loans, cash advance loans, and title loans (see how much cash you can get here!). To get started, please complete our prequalification application. We look forward to helping you achieve your financial goals.

The content on this page provides general consumer information or tips. It is not financial advice or guidance. Each person’s circumstances are unique. The Cash Store may update this information periodically. This information may also include links or references to third-party resources or content. We do not endorse the third-party or guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. There may be other resources that also serve your needs.

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