From College to Retirement: How an Advisor Adds Value

March 27, 2024

Presented by Rich LeBranti

by John M. Mulera, Intern

Navigating the financial landscape is a journey filled with various stages, presenting unique challenges and opportunities. From college years where students struggle with budgeting their modest incomes, to later years of retirement where income management becomes a primary challenge, the need for sound financial advice remains constant. In this article, we will explore the pivotal role financial advisors play across different life stages to ensure that individuals not only meet their immediate financial needs but also secure a stable and prosperous future. Whether you are a college student, young professional, or enjoying retirement, understanding and managing your finances with expert guidance can make all the difference.

College Students

Most college students have relatively modest incomes, and they often fail to budget that income and their expenses.  While they can expect their income to rise after graduation, if they fail to learn to manage their finances while in college, they risk potentially repeating these mistakes during the years they should be focusing on building their wealth.

Financial advisors can play a key role for college students by showing them how to manage their finances during their academic journey. For a college student, retirement may seem very far off, but this is a great time to start planning and to ensure that your current financial priorities are aligned with your retirement goals. During the college years, individuals are mostly focused on finding a career and fail to address the most common financial hurdle students face – debt.  Without proper planning, many will find their student debt unmanageable.

Student loans can be very complicated.  A financial advisor can show you the most beneficial loan for you and help you develop a realistic budget that will allow you to live within your means and take steps toward your long-term financial goals.  In short, a financial planner can assist in creating a budget to satisfy your immediate needs and address your goals. A good starting point is to ask your parent or guardian if they work with an advisor and ask if that person would be willing to have a conversation with you as you move from college years to your working years.

Early professional life 

People transitioning into the workforce will face new financial challenges and opportunities.  The support of a financial advisor is essential to a new professional’s ability to establish healthy financial habits that allow them to progress toward their financial goals. A financial advisor can help young professionals create a budget, implementing a suitable banking framework, plan to purchase a house or protect a new family.  Young professionals have a great opportunity to build financial literacy at a young age in order to get a head start on saving for retirement and investing over a long period of time. By beginning your planning early in your career, you will find yourself better positioned financially by the time you stop working.

Late professional life 

Individuals late in their career are in their prime earning years.  They have more disposable income that can be saved.  Financial advisors can play a crucial role by focusing on retirement and addressing specific financial considerations related to this life stage. At this stage of someone’s life it may be easier to understand exactly what you want the rest of your life to look like. A financial advisor can create a roadmap you can follow so that you can understand your financial position and plan for the end of your career.

Established professionals have opportunities to take advantage of sophisticated tax planning programs. For example, in 2023, eligible individuals who were 50 and over could put an extra $1,000 in their traditional Roth IRA accounts and an extra $7,500 in their 401(k) or other retirement plan. It is critical to save as much as possible when it is practical. In addition, a financial advisor may suggest a health savings account (HSA) for those on high-deductible healthcare plans because it is beneficial for tax savings. Individuals who save in an HSA invest money once they have reached a certain threshold of cash, so they will have additional tax-advantaged funds to use for healthcare in retirement if they can keep the money invested and pay for their current medical bills out of pocket.

Early retirement 

Early retirement is an exciting time because you now have the opportunity to spend your life however you please. You can spend time with family, connect with old friends, find new hobbies, and work on projects around your house.  Financial advisors can assist in retirement by providing guidance, financial planning, and investment management to help you achieve your early-stage retirement goals.  They can help you avoid taking too much money out of retirement funds too quickly, and plan for unexpected emergencies.

Late Retirement 

Hiring a financial advisor in retirement can help you get ready for what is likely to be one of the trickiest and most complicated financial times of your life. Even if someone has saved well over time, living on fixed income is not easy and there are other important factors such as the cost of care and the financial complexities that come with it. Estate planning is the primary justification for keeping or hiring a financial advisor in retirement. Financial advisors are well-versed in assisting their clients in determining the most tax-efficient way to distribute wealth to friends and family. In the end, a financial advisor’s job description goes well beyond helping you reach your retirement goals. No matter how much money you make, managing it on a fixed income can be difficult for retirees who want to devote more of their time to hobbies, family, or other interests. You can help prepare for the unexpected, and make sure your legacy lasts as long as possible by working with a financial advisor.

In conclusion, financial guidance is essential at every stage of life, from college years to late retirement. Whether you are a student grappling with budgeting and student loans, or an established professional planning for retirement, a financial advisor can provide invaluable insights and strategies tailored to your unique circumstances. As life evolves, so do financial goals and challenges, making it crucial to have a trusted advisor by your side to navigate the complex financial landscapes that life brings your way. Remember, it is never too early or too late to seek professional financial advice; it is a proactive step towards achieving financial well-being and enjoying a fulfilling life at every age.


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