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Senior Financial Advisors

A good senior financial advisor can make the difference between a comfortable retirement and a hard road at the end of your career. The right retirement planning professional can help you decide how much to save and invest while you’re still earning, which investment vehicles make the most sense as you age, and how to pay for care that won’t be covered by Medicare or other insurance.

The good news is that there are highly trained financial planning experts who understand senior financial issues and want to help you make the most of your money. The not-so-good news is that there are dozens of confusing senior-planning designations, and not all of them are equal. There are also scammers who target seniors’ nest eggs with bogus “planning” help. Use our information to learn what to look for in a senior financial planner—and what to avoid.

View a glossary of senior financial advisor industry terms.

Paying for Senior Financial Advisors

Before you hire an advisor, find out how he or she gets paid. In general, there are 3 ways that financial advisors are compensated. Each method has its own advantages and drawbacks.

Commission-based: Your advisor is paid a commission by companies whose financial products you buy, such as insurance policies.

  • Pros: You don’t have to pay any fees directly to your advisor.
  • Cons: Because the advisor is paid per sale, there’s a strong incentive to sell you products regardless of whether they’re the best fit for your situation.

Fee-based: Your advisor receives an annual fee based on a percentage of your assets under his or her management. Typically this fee is 2% or lower.

  • Pros: Because the advisor is paid based on how much your investments are worth, it offers an incentive to find the best vehicles for your money.
  • Cons: The advisor may steer you toward more aggressive investments that carry more risk or guide you away from decisions that would reduce the amount of money he or she manages for you. Also, fee-based options are usually only available for clients with a high net worth.

Hourly rate: You pay the advisor an hourly rate based on the time you spend meeting with him or her and the time he or she spends actively managing your investments.

  • Pros: Because you’re paying only for time, there’s no potential conflict of interest due to commissions or limits based on the size of your portfolio.
  • Cons: If your advisor only makes money based on time spent discussing your finances with you, there could be an incentive to bulk up billable hours talking about options that aren’t a good fit.
Services Offered by Senior Financial Advisors

A good senior financial advisor or certified financial planner (CFP) can help you make the most of your retirement funds, figure out how to pay for long-term care if you need it, and help you handle your estate planning. Here are some typical retirement planning services:

  • Net worth calculation
  • Retirement budget projections
  • Assessment of your investment strategy and style
  • Annual rebalancing of your portfolio
  • Reallocation of investments as your life and career change
  • Comprehensive insurance coverage evaluation
  • Life insurance purchases
  • Annuity purchases
  • Long-term care and disability insurance purchases
  • Estate-planning guidance (in conjunction with an estate attorney)
  • Investment tax advice

News and Articles about Senior Financial Advisors
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