What Should You Expect from a Financial Advisor? : The Hearing Journal – LWW Journals

You spend your professional life helping others with their hearing issues. But when it comes to your finances, you might want assistance from someone who listens to you. If you’re not already working with a financial professional, you may want to start to meet the important financial goals you’d like to achieve.

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A financial advisor can help you in several ways. For example, perhaps you’ve worked in a health care clinic or educational setting for several years, and now you want to strike out on your own. There’s a lot involved with setting up a business, but a financial advisor, perhaps working with an attorney and a tax professional, can assist you in hanging your own shingle.

And of course, a financial advisor can help you make the appropriate investment decisions for your situation. About 7,600 mutual funds are available in the United States—and they are just one part of an investment universe that also includes individual stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, government securities, and more (Statista.com, 2020). With so many choices available, how can you know if you’re making the right moves?

A financial advisor who knows you and understands what you’re trying to achieve can help you build an investment portfolio that’s suitable for your needs, helping keep you on the right track. In fact, three of four U.S. consumers who worked with a financial advisor said they were more confident in their financial future because of this relationship, according to a Harris Poll survey (ThinkAdvisor, 2018).

A financial advisor can also help you avoid making some potentially costly mistakes. Suppose, for instance, that you get a tip on a “hot” stock from a friend, relative, or neighbor. On your own, you might be tempted to invest in this stock. But if you worked with a qualified financial advisor, you would learn that by the time you buy a hot stock, it might already be cooling off. Even more important, a financial advisor might tell you that the stock in question really isn’t suitable for your situation.

Furthermore, a financial advisor can help you respond to the many changes in your life. Getting married? A financial advisor can help you and your new spouse work out a strategy that accommodates your joint goals. Having children? Your financial advisor can get you started on an education savings plan (more of that below). Changing jobs? Your financial advisor can help you decide what to do with your old retirement plan and help educate you on your new one. Getting ready to retire? A financial advisor can help ensure you follow a suitable withdrawal rate, so you don’t deplete your investments too soon.


Above all, a financial advisor can work with you to create a long-term, personalized strategy covering several areas, including:

DEBT MANAGEMENT/CASH FLOW. As you know better than anyone, an audiology education is expensive. The average AuD program costs anywhere from $76,000 to $150,000, according to Vocational Training HQ—and that expense comes after whatever you spent to earn your bachelor’s degree. Consequently, if you’re still in the early or middle stages of your career, you might be carrying substantial student debt—and repaying these loans can certainly be a burden. A financial advisor may be able to help you deal with your debt and budgetary issues in a way that allows you to reduce the pressure on your cash flow.

EDUCATION. If you have young children, you may already be thinking about their future educational needs. A financial advisor can identify appropriate strategies and investments.

Beyond helping you choose a specific investment for education, a financial advisor can work with you on other associated issues, such as how you can save for your retirement and your child’s education at the same time, and how the college fund you establish might affect your child’s chances of receiving financial aid.

PROTECTION. Your financial independence and your family’s well-being could be jeopardized if you don’t have the right protection strategy. Your employer may offer disability and life insurance as employee benefits, but they may not be sufficient for your needs, so you might want to purchase private coverage. If you run your own practice, you’ll need to take care of all your insurance needs.

And whether you’re an employee or a business owner, you’ll also want to explore an often-overlooked area of protection: long-term care. You may never need any type of long-term care, such as a stay in a nursing home or the assistance of a home health aide, but if you do, you’ll find that these services are enormously expensive—and, for the most part, they’re outside the scope of Medicare—so you may want to consider long-term care insurance or life insurance with a long-term care component.

A financial advisor can review all your protection needs and recommend the appropriate solutions. And since these needs will change over time, your financial advisor can help ensure you stay current with your coverage.

RETIREMENT. Attaining a comfortable retirement may be your biggest financial goal, so you must devote sufficient resources to your individual retirement account (IRA) and any employer-sponsored retirement plan you may have. If you work at a health care facility, school district, hospital, or government agency, you may well contribute to a 401(k), 403(b), or 457(b) retirement plan. But if you own your own practice, it’s up to you to provide yourself with a retirement account. Fortunately, you have some good options, such as a “Solo” 401(k), a SIMPLE IRA, and a SEP-IRA, all of which offer tax advantages and an array of investment options.

A financial advisor can help you get the most from your existing retirement plan or assist you in setting up your own. But you also want someone who can empower you to answer any questions you’ll have along the way, such as: Will I be able to retire when I want? If I change my mind and decide to retire early, will I have to scale back my retirement lifestyle? Once I do retire, how can I make sure I won’t outlive my resources? A qualified financial advisor will have the tools and experience to address your concerns.


So far, we’ve talked about how a financial advisor can help you. But if you haven’t worked with one, how do you go about choosing the right financial advisor?

You can start by asking friends or relatives for the names of their financial advisors and whether they are satisfied with the service they receive.

But whether you get a referral or you find a financial advisor on your own, you’ll still want to ask a candidate some questions. Here are some to consider:

  • What are your credentials? Make sure a prospective financial advisor has the appropriate securities registrations.
  • How are you paid? Financial advisors are paid through fees or commissions, or a combination of both. One way isn’t necessarily better than another, but it’s important for you to know the system of compensation being used.
  • How will you communicate with me? Find out when you’ll receive statements and how often you’ll meet to review your portfolio and the progress you’re making toward your goals. Of course, with COVID-19, online consultations on platforms such as Zoom became the norm, but in a post-pandemic world, personal interactions with financial advisors should largely return.
  • What is your investment philosophy? Different financial advisors have different ways of approaching the investment process. You will need to find someone whose philosophy feels like a good fit for you.
  • Will you work with other professionals? Your investment portfolio and your insurance coverage are connected, or will be, to your tax situation and your estate planning needs. It may well be beneficial if your financial advisor can work with your tax professional and your legal advisor to make sure all the pieces fit together.


In your work, you know what it’s like to make a real difference in people’s lives. A financial advisor can have a similar impact on yours. So, if you aren’t already working with a financial advisor, consider looking for one soon. Achieving your financial goals is a long-term process—and the sooner you get started, the better.

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