Why Should You Pay for Financial Assistance?

Why Should You Pay for Financial Assistance?
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I’ve written several pieces on how to shop for a financial adviser, but I didn’t address why you should do so. Well, here’s the “why.”


Let’s face it: We are all specialists in something, and we feel comfortable performing within that specialty. But outside that specialty, things get sketchy fast. We all think we have expertise in finance, but the field is more complex than we may appreciate.


Having a financial adviser protects you from yourself. We humans are not as clever as we like to think we are. We are ruled by our emotions and a psychology that causes us to think we know more than we actually do. In fact, the less we know, the more confident we are that we know. This makes for a very dangerous financial situation.


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Too often, people may take on too much risk to satisfy their greed, or they may be so risk-adverse they sacrifice potential growth to save themselves from their fears. A good adviser can find balance to achieve your objectives.


An adviser has financial knowledge and expertise beyond most of us. Money management is both a science and an art. Training is critical to understanding the tools of the trade and the how and why to use them. Experience provides insight into how the tools work in the real world. It’s more than throwing together random investments picked on the fly because of a recent article, forum, TV talking head, or family member/friend’s opinion.


There is a huge difference between managing wealth accumulation during your career and managing wealth in retirement. Retirement wealth management is challenging. A mistake can be unforgiving. There is no bail-out if you make a financial mistake in retirement.


[RELATED: Are You Ready for Required Minimum Distributions?]


An adviser can look into your financial situation with impartial eyes. A comprehensive review can turn up holes in your plan that are not being addressed, or potential traps you are about to walk into. Advisers can suggest efficient, effective course changes that can make a real difference.


If you think this is just a pitch for financial services, forget about it. I don’t gain or lose anything from any of your financial planning actions, and neither does MOAA. I just want to help you look in the mirror and be honest with yourself about your capabilities and the lives you impact with your financial decisions.


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About the Author

Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret), CFP®
Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret), CFP®

Ostrom is MOAA's former Program Director, Financial & Benefits Education/Counseling