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Top Questions to Ask your Financial Advisor

No matter what your age, there’s going to be uncertainty about the future. No one knows what lies ahead, and that’s why it’s so important to prepare yourself with top questions to ask your financial advisor about retirement.

Too often, retirees are caught having not planned well in one area or another. That’s understandable. You only retire once. You only get one shot at doing this right. And that’s why having professional financial advice for retirement planning is so important. You can’t be expected to know what questions to ask, what bases to cover…but you do have the right and the responsibility to gather as much financial wisdom as you can, so you can enjoy the type of retirement you deserve. 

According to a recent Ameritrade survey, about half of middle-aged Americans have already withdrawn funds from their retirement savings plans, with the majority of them neglecting to make catch-up contributions. That same group does not plan to rely on Social Security for their retirement income. 

So what gives? 

Will your retirement plan support you?

That’s just one of many questions you should have ready for your retirement planning financial advisor.

Make a List: Top Questions to Ask your Financial Advisor about Retirement

From the very first time you speak with your retirement advisor, you can start to gather the information you’ll need for living the retirement of your dreams. Ask no questions—or ask the wrong questions—and you could be in for a rude awakening after it’s too late.

Will I have enough money to retire the way I want to?

This question is far more effective than the more common, “Will I have enough money to retire?”

No two retirement visions are identical, so asking a financial retirement advisor if you’ll have enough income, without having long-term goals for how you wish to live in retirement, will not serve you.

So ask your retirement specialist this question, but only after listing…

  • where you plan to live, and what fees will be involved
  • how much you plan to spend on food and utilities
  • how much you’ll travel
  • what activities you’ll engage in, and how often
  • what vehicle you’ll drive
  • what level of gift-giving you’d like to maintain
  • whom will live with you, and their retirement income
  • how much money you’d like to leave to your children

Can I support myself if I live to be 100?

Life expectancy for the average American is around 80 years. However, to plan for anything less than 100 years would be silly. 

Remember that any average is made from extremes on both ends, meaning that for as many people who pass away tragically at a young age, there are just as many who live far past what’s expected.

Will your retirement plan be there for you if you’re gifted with bonus years? 

How much extra money will I have to play with during retirement?

You know what you plan to do in retirement, and you know how much that will cost. But what if you take up golf? What if you and your spouse meet another fun-loving couple and the four of you decide to sail around the world? 

Will you have the wiggle room to make that happen? Or will you be tied to a budget designed by your younger, less-adventurous self?

Will I have to work during retirement?

Maybe you like to stay busy, and you have plans on taking a part-time job after you retire. 

What if a health challenge develops? Or what if you take up a hobby that becomes more important than working? 

These are all expected shifts that occur during retirement, and good reasons to ask your financial advisor retirement specialist what kind of impact not working will have on your lifestyle. 

Is the retirement plan I designed 20 years ago still relevant?

You’ve heard that risky investments are better when you’re in your 30s. And then, when you’re within a decade of retirement, those investments should be changed to preserve the funds you’ve accumulated.

But there’s more.

How has your family situation changed? How about your health? Did shifts in income affect how much money was contributed? Do you have more heirs, or fewer heirs, than you did then? Has your retirement vision shifted?

Life is filled with change, and your retirement plan should embody that.

Am I on-track to retire when I wish?

When working with a financial advisor, this is a much better question than, “When can I retire?”

Too often, people decide at what age they can retire based upon their retirement plan prospects. 

A better strategy would be to decide at what age you wish to retire, and then talk to your retirement advisor to develop a financial plan for making that happen.

How will my multiple streams of income work for me during retirement?

Most people will rely on a number of income sources to make their retirement dreams come to life. You might have a pension, Social Security, 401K, Roth IRAs, investment portfolios, real estate, passive income…and a certified financial planner will show you exactly how those income streams will flow together to fill your expectations. 

That same astute financial planner can also show you how the loss of just one of those revenue streams will affect your retirement outlook.

What will my withdrawal options be?

On your last day of work, you won’t head to the bank and withdraw a lump sum—not if you want the best return on your investment.

You will have a number of options for payout, and your financial retirement advisor can outline them for you. Granted, you’re not ready for that just yet, but as you envision your retirement (large sums of money for travel vs. a quiet life at home with foreseeable expenses), it can be helpful to know what your options will be.

Other Top Questions to Ask your Financial Advisor about Retirement

Will the questions listed above be the only ones you ever need to ask a retirement investment advisor? Certainly not! You will also have to ask all the questions that apply to your unique vision of your retirement. It’s crucial that you connect with a retirement specialist who’s willing to listen and work exclusively with you and your retirement finances to make your dreams come true. The Senior Life is your trusted resource for supporting you as you build the retirement of your wildest dreams. We will settle for nothing less than your peace of mind, as we guide you through this exciting journey toward reaping all the good things you’ve sown.

Next Article: Why You Should Work With a Financial Advisor During a Turbulent Market

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