The cost of living in Los Angeles is very high. The Economic Policy Institute 2015 Budget Calculator showed that the annual cost of living for a family of four is $73,887, which equates to $6,157 per month. Families and individuals living in Los Angeles need to manage their money carefully on a short-term and long-term basis, so they can prepare for a healthy retirement. Most financial advisors will educate their clients about a few basic financial principles such as:
Setting financial goals Calculating their net worth Managing their debts Starting an emergency fund Monitoring their credit scores
Once these initial steps have been taken, advisors customize an individualized financial plan to help their clients achieve their goals. The advisor and clients communicate regularly to monitor the client’s financial portfolio. The advisor stands ready to make changes, if funds are not performing as well as expected.
There are several state and federal organizations that can help consumers choose and evaluate financial advisors. Here’s a few to start with:
Consumers who are looking for financial advisors who charge a fee based upon their clients’ earnings may find one among the members of the Garrett Planning Network, an Arkansas-based network of fee-only financial advisors and planners. Members of the Network are required to either be a Certified Financial Planner, have the CFP certification, or agree to become certified within five years of their initial application. They also allow CPA’s who have attained the PFS designation or will attain it within the same five-year period. Consumers can search for certified financial advisors across the nation by using their search engine.
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) offers a website with an online search engine to help consumers find a qualified financial advisor. NAPFA is fee-only and their members work under a fiduciary (best interest of the client) standard. None of their members accept commissions. NAPFA does offer a Find an Advisor feature for consumers to use to find NAPFA members (approximately 2,600 members strong at this time). Their database has access to financial professionals who meet the highest membership standards for professional competency for client-focused financial planning. The site also offers tips, tools, and a finance blog. You may want to ask prospective advisors if they attend the NAPFA annual conferences.
FINRA is an independent oversight authority that provides protection to investors by regulating the securities industry so that it operates honestly and fairly. FINRA oversees financial advisors, financial planners, and investment firms. FINRA writes and enforces rules for securities and examines firms for compliance with the rules.
To help consumers have confidence and a sense of security in the financial advisor they choose, FINRA offers a database of financial advisor information called BrokerCheck. Consumers can enter an advisor’s name or a firm name, along with the location to find the advisor’s history, certifications, licenses, and any negative information including regulatory actions, violations, and complaints.
It may seem impossible for some families to think that they can plan for the future when their basic cost of living in Los Angeles is high, but experienced financial planners can help find ways for consumers to save and invest.
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