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Choosing a Financial Advisor – Part 3

In our previous posts, we’ve explored the importance of determining fee structures of advisory firms, and the differences between a suitability standard and a fiduciary standard.

When evaluating the ability of an advisor to deliver the needed level of services and solutions, however, few topics are more important than understanding the collective capabilities of the team of individuals comprising a firm.

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Choosing a Financial Advisor – Part 2

In our four-part Choosing a Financial Advisor Series, we provide information and perspectives to clarify the distinctions within the financial industry, which will help you understand how to think about choosing the right advisor for your specific needs.

In Part 2 of the series, we highlight the importance of making sure your interests come first, and explore the fiduciary standard.

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Choosing a Financial Advisor

In our four-part Choosing a Financial Advisor Series, we provide information and perspectives to clarify the distinctions within the financial industry, which will help you understand how to think about choosing the right advisor for your specific needs.

In Part 1 of the series, we explore a shortcut that can help draw meaningful distinctions among different advisory firms.

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Levin: It is time to talk about the family cabin

“Too many parents make life hard for their children by trying, too zealously, to make it easy for them.” So said the 18th-century German statesman and author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

While his thought may be true, I often find the opposite occurring when it comes to estate planning. Because parents are often not open with their adult children about their parental intentions, or worse, because they want the kids to figure it out, chaos may ensue. Let’s look at a true Minnesota example. 

The family cabin tends to be a lightning rod for inheritance issues for a host of reasons. The cabin is not just a structure; it is an archive of fond memories. Unfortunately, when the cabin is left to the children, new memories are created that are usually not so fond.

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Lessons from Sending My Son to College

By: Chris Link, CFP®, CPA, Accredited’s Director of Tax Planning

“The Best Day” by George Strait played on the radio the day we brought our first born home from the hospital. Thinking back to that day, it felt like we had arrived at the college conversation all too quickly. Much like the moment when we were no longer a family of two, watching our fledgling jump from the nest raised emotions and introspection.

It began to feel ‘real’ one week before my son’s college departure date. A mix of excitement and anticipation came over me thinking about the opportunities that lie ahead, and pride for the person he’s grown into. At the same time, thoughts of not seeing him every day and knowing that we’d all be moving into a new normal created a sadness. “The Best Day” holds a different meaning now; and listening to it again the morning we dropped him at college helped shift my focus back onto his excitement for this new journey.

Before we could send our son off to college, we had to cross the bridge of finding the “perfect one,” agree as a couple how to fund this new expense, and communicate funding and expectations to our college freshman.

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Levin: Long-term care, climate change and your finances

There would seem to be nothing in common between long-term care and climate change. But there is. Insurance companies cannot properly price it. This is evident to anyone who has seen their long-term care insurance or homeowner’s insurance costs continue to increase. If insurance companies are stumped, how do we plan for ourselves? Let’s take each issue separately.

Rather than go into the types of long-term care policies, let’s simply think about whether you need the insurance. I am generally ambivalent about the coverage because it is unclear whether it provides any real financial advantages. Here are some reasons it may make sense to own it.

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Levin: You can plan for tomorrow and still enjoy life today

Why do people spend money they don’t have, burst through their budgets, and end up pinky-swearing that they will never spend money like that again — until they do it again the next time?

In the book, “Atomic Habits,” James Clear wrote, “The costs of your good habits are in the present. The costs of your bad habits are in the future.”

Think about that. Buying something that you don’t really need at the expense of saving for something that you do means that you are paying a future price to satisfy today’s want.

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Levin: Why you need to ask questions of your financial adviser

A new client recently was asking many questions in a meeting, ending with one about whether there are ways to see their account directly from the brokerage firm in addition to the portal that we provide. He said, “As a lawyer, I like to double check everything.” And he ended by saying, “I trust you enough to ask this of you.” This got me thinking about gifts that occur in a reciprocal planning relationship.

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