Creating security for your family is the end-goal of every financial strategy—and that’s why financial planners often recommend that clients buy term life insurance. There are multiple ways that a financial advisor can work with you to help you provide a secure future for your loved ones.
According to the National Association of Financial Planning Advisors (NAPFA), many of us need a complete financial makeover—especially when it comes to creating a plan to care for our families if we would die suddenly.
- Approximately 60% of American families don’t use a budget to plan their spending—an increase of 8% in the last seven years;
- Less than 50% of adults save a portion of their income with a specific financial goal in mind;
- 44% of Americans ages 50-64 haven’t created a will; and
- Many people are not aware they could buy affordable term life insurance to cover their loved ones—30% of Americans remained uninsured.
» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator
If you see yourself in the statistics above, it may be time to get some professional support in achieving your short- and long-term financial goals. Developing financial literacy—including learning how to buy term life insurance—will protect your assets (while you build your family’s savings) and provide a secure future for your loved ones even after you’ve passed on.
But, more than that, it will give you peace of mind today that you’re on your way toward doing the right thing—and that’s priceless.
Types of Financial Planners
One common myth is that you can only work with a financial advisor if you are very wealthy.
Actually financial planners work with families from every income level to help them make their goals achievable.
So, even if you consider yourself an average Joe, you may benefit from solid advice on how to build savings, to figure out how to pay for your kid’s college, and to create a retirement fund that will last until the end of your (and your partner’s) life.
Here’s an overview of the types of financial advisors you could choose to work with, along with an introduction to the common financial planning services that they offer.
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Financial Planning Services
A financial planner can help you to get a financial life that works for you. They can:
- Assist you in organizing your finances (budgeting, planning, saving, investing),
- Help you to plan for life changes (from starting a family to retiring),
- Review your goals and project the results of your savings and investments to see if you’re on track,
- Advise you on how to make wise investment decisions to build your wealth over time, and
- Help you protect the assets you’ve built through risk management.
Now that you know what types of services they provide, here’s a quick rundown of the types of financial planners available for hire.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
Certified Financial Consultant (ChFC)
A certified financial planner (or consultant) went to college and then completed additional training to become professionally certified in creating financial strategies to help their clients get the most out of every dollar they earn, spend, or invest.
As financial markets and retirement strategies change as our society evolves, financial planners complete additional educational credits to stay up to date professionally and maintain their accreditation from their respective professional governing bodies.
The level of financial planning education that a CFP has is the basic training to look for and a solid choice to consider.
NAPFA-registered Financial Advisor
A NAPFA-registered financial advisor is a fee-only certified financial planner (CFP) who has fulfilled additional educational and professional requirements beyond the CFP certification process. What makes them stand out is that they have a commitment (fiduciary oath) to sell no products and take no commissions—meaning that they charge you only for their financial advice.
You don’t want your financial planner to have a conflict of interest and advise you only to buy investment products for which they essentially get a monetary kickback.
Kickbacks are illegal in many professions, but unfortunately, in the financial services sector, it’s buyer beware as necessary government regulation requiring investment professionals to act as a fiduciary for their client is still up in the air.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a specialist in—you guessed in—accounting; ensuring that your financial house has a proper foundation. Accountants can conduct detailed reviews of your income and assets to create a winning tax strategy; which is a lot more fun than having to engage them to deal with a tax audit.
It is not uncommon to find a CPA who is also a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS). A CPA with these qualifications can handle both your accounting and financial planning needs.
Working with one person who is aware of your financial picture in depth can save you time and money. In addition, some financial decisions come down to what will cost you (or save you) in taxes, so having a good CPA on your wealth-building team makes a lot of sense.
Make sure to talk with people whom you trust to get references before you hire any financial professional. Taking time to check out your prospective financial planner (accountant or consultant) is worth it before you entrust them with your money life.
How to Work with a Financial Planner to Buy Term Life Insurance
So, you’ve vetted your prospective hire. In order to get the most out of your experience with your financial planner, reflect on your life goals prior to your appointment. Where do you want to be in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?
» Compare: Term life insurance quotes
Understand Your Financial Goals
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking only about day-to-day expenses—staying on top of mortgage payments, paying for health insurance, having enough for groceries, and other necessities.
It’s a good idea to make sure that your budgeting is built around your bigger financial goals, too. That way, your savings (and what you decide to spend your money on) contribute to achieving your vision of financial security.
A financial planner can help you sort your goals according to priority and urgency—whether it’s saving for retirement or building up your daughter’s college tuition fund.
Look at Your Debt
A big part of planning your financial future is understanding your debt and how it will impact you (and your family) in the long run.
If you have a mortgage, student loans from college, and/or a business for which you’ve personally guaranteed the debt, then you’ll need to learn the best ways to balance your payment obligations with your wealth-building plan (and know what will happen to your debt if you pass away).
Your financial advisor will make an inventory of your outstanding debt and then create a strategy that maximizes your income to pay it down efficiently while also keeping you on track with your savings.
They will also ask you to think about your family’s future.
Even if you’re single, you may have obligations (like private student loans) that won’t disappear even if you’re no longer alive to repay them. If there aren’t sufficient funds to pay off your debt, your loved ones might be liable for them.
This could be just one situation when your financial planner may recommend that you buy term life insurance, offering you an affordable way to balance current debt with future goals.
Investments and Estate Planning
When you’re developing a wealth-building plan, it is critical to put your hard-earned dollars where they’ll be safe, but also where they’ll earn solid returns.
Your financial advisor can give you clear, unbiased advice on your safest investment options (according to your risk threshold) as well as show you how to optimize your returns.
Be sure to ask many questions—and be satisfied that you’ve understood anything that you initially found a bit confusing—before you make any decisions. An ethical advisor won’t try to rush you or insist you make a choice until you’re comfortable.
When thinking about estate planning, you’ll be wise to get expert help—tax law and inheritance regulations can be complicated and vary by state, often changing at the federal level. Just like with your will, if you buy term life insurance, you’ll choose your beneficiaries who will receive the money from your life insurance policy when you die. Most life insurance payouts don’t need to go through probate before they are paid out. This can really help a family during a time of loss.
Why Financial Planners Recommend That Clients Buy Term Life Insurance
Financial planners recommend that clients buy term life insurance because it allows them to accomplish two goals: saving money and creating financial security.
A term life insurance policy offers coverage over a specific time period (e.g.: 10, 15, 20, 25, or 35 years) at affordable rates that are much less expensive than whole life policies with lifelong coverage.
A term life policy is a good option if you anticipate a point where you may not need insurance or that your requirements may change. For example, you may elect to buy term life insurance that protects your daughter through medical school and another policy of a different length that will cover your youngest son through college 10 years down the road.
If you buy term life insurance policies of different lengths like this during the same time period it’s called laddering, and it’s a simple way to develop a life long insurance plan that won’t break the bank. And, as long as you keep up with all your premiums, your family will be protected through the length of the term(s).
You might choose a whole life policy if you know that you will need insurance coverage for your entire life—such as if you have a loved one with special needs who may need lifelong care. A whole life policy also builds up cash value that you can withdraw or borrow against.
» Learn more: A Basic Estate Planning Checklist
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