Building Your Money Team

By Mary Beth Storjohann

As Thomas Stanley, author of The Millionaire Next Door, found in his research, the best wealth accumulators usually consult a team of advisors when making important financial decisions. That’s good advice for you, as well.

When building your money team, make sure to include the following key players:

Financial planner. An advisor will help you look at the entire picture of your financial life. A planner will help you figure out how to accomplish your goals by evaluating your current situation and creating a plan to help you get there.

An advisor can help you with a variety of financial matters, such as money management, investing advice, estate and business planning, as well insurance purchases. Even if you like to manage your own money, another trained eye can look for opportunities and spot risks you might overlook. Perhaps more valuable: A financial advisor can prevent you from making costly emotional decisions.

Attorney. No money team is complete without the help of a good attorney. An important task for your attorney will be to create an estate plan. At some point, you will need a will and possibly a living trust or power of attorney.

If you find yourself physically or mentally impaired or worse, deceased, these documents help friends and family settle your estate according to your wishes. This is extremely important if you have children who are still dependent on you financially.

An attorney can also help you navigate more complicated challenges. Take the case of a physician facing a malpractice suit. He may need to establish a trust to protect his assets, yet laws vary by state. Attorneys are also helpful with more mundane transactions, such as real estate purchases.

Accountant. Many high-income earners put more toward taxes than they do for any other expense. Your accountant can help you prepare taxes, offer appropriate tax shelter recommendations and manage depreciation schedules.
Insurance broker. The more your wealth grows, the more you have at stake. An insurance broker will help determine the right insurance products to help you manage this risk.

Insurance policies can be complex. Take disability insurance as an example. There’s a wide range of coverage and prices available. Since disability insurance depends on your occupation, you might not even qualify for certain policies. An experienced broker will help you navigate the insurance marketplace.

Your financial planner and insurance broker will work together to help you create a comprehensive insurance plan.

There are other team members to consider if you are an entrepreneur. As a business owner, you may need to consult multiple attorneys, such as a contract lawyer or patent lawyer. You might also benefit from working with a bookkeeper to track your expenses and profits.

With the right team in place, you’ll have a better chance of building the kind of financial future you want.

Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP, is the founder of Workable Wealth, an RIA in San Diego. She is a writer, speaker and financial coach who is passionate about working with individuals and couples in their 20s and 30s to help them organize and gain confidence in their financial lives.

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