Things to Think of When You Need Financial Help!
No matter if you’re married, divorced or widowed. A farmer or business owner. A person trying to sell their business or starting a new one. A recent college graduate or a retiree. Someone planning to retire in 20 years or 2 months. You need financial advice–so where do you start?
The first thing is to find someone that is “Certified” to help you–meaning they have the training and education to help you such as a “Certified Public Accountant” or CPA. They have the expertise to help in all types of accounting and tax situations–even with IRS or State Tax Notices.
If you have tax returns that need to be filed, a CPA will know the new tax laws and be able to help determine what documents are needed to prepare them. To be sure nothing is overlooked, bring in your previous year’s tax return along with the documents that were used to prepare them since much of the information stays the same from one year to the next. The CPA should also be able to project your taxes for the coming year to ensure you have the proper withholding or have calculated the correct estimated tax payments. Then you shouldn’t have a large balance due in April.
Secondly, go to an independent “Certified Financial Planner,” CFP, they will be able to help you with your investments and plan for the future. They’ll understand how all your assets and liabilities relate to one another and can help grow your investments within the time horizon and risk level you have. This way you are able to meet your goals, like putting the kids through college or retiring at a certain age or paying off debt.
You should be able to talk to both the CPA and CFP and understand what they are telling you. While they need to know the technical terminology and how everything works, they should be able to explain it so that you understand it. You should be confident in the knowledge that they grasp your whole situation and how it’s all interrelated. If you can find a person that has both of these credentials you’re even better off because they’ll know the investment side and the tax side in great detail–and how both work together.
Your advisor needs to understand how everything relates to one another and you need to be talking with them throughout the year before any major decisions are made. Major decisions would include: when to start drawing Social Security or taking money out of your retirement account. Will your health insurance bee affected because now you earned more money? Or will taking money out of one account cause more of your Social Security to be taxes? Well, it all depends because your financial situation is unique to you.
With our ever-changing tax code, it’s essential the person helping with your investments truly understands your tax situation so you know what the tax consequences will be before you do anything, this way you are planning your taxes as opposed to seeing the backlash next year when filing your taxes.
At our office, we can help with all of this. Since I’m both a CPA and CFP, we see how all the puzzle pieces fit together from an overall view but can drill down into the details. We do detailed planning with regards to your taxes and how your investments fit in to them.
Taxes, Investments, Business and maybe a little more! Sandy Flom, CPA, CFP