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financial planner Archives - Sharkey, Howes & Javer

The Aging Brain and Decision Making

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Regardless of age, we all have moments when we walk into a room and forget what we were looking for or start a sentence and forget what we were going to say. However, as we get older and these occurrences perhaps become more frequent, it is important to consider how our aging brain may be impacting other areas of our lives.

In 2015, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College released a report on how a decline in cognitive skills affects financial decision making. The study conducted an annual review of a group of aging individuals’ financial literacy or knowledge, confidence in making financial decisions, and level of responsibility for managing their finances.

The study found that while a decline in cognition lead to a significant decline in financial literacy, it did not reduce individuals’ confidence in their ability to manage their finances. As a result, many individuals maintained primary responsibility over their finances despite a decline in their ability.

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Julie Fletcher Featured in Denver Post: Why Americans are scared of financial advisors

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Julie Fletcher, CFP® at Sharkey, Howes & Javer wrote an article that was featured in the Denver Post this week. Below is a small excerpt from her piece as well as a link to read the full article.


Why Americans are scared of financial advisors
We can blame the movies, and our “money taboo” society

Since the 1980’s, Hollywood has made millions of dollars creating a slew of movies depicting the greed and crime of the financial services industry. Which is your favorite? “Wall Street,” the “greed is good” movie from 1987? “Boiler Room,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” or “The Big Short”? Based on the media’s portrayal of “financial professionals,” it is no wonder that Americans are scared to death to trust anyone with their hard-earned money. Based on these movies, I would guess that a person who has never met with a financial advisor likely envisions it would go something like this:

As a frightened receptionist walks me through their chaotic cubicle hell, red-faced frenzied suits scream “SELL, SELL NOW!!” into their phones. When we finally reach the conference room, the theme song from “Jaws” runs through my mind as a cigar smoking man wearing a red bow tie slowly turns in his chair to face me. He puffs out smoke as his smile creeps into a wide Cheshire cat grin. “Welcome. Please have a seat. Did you bring all your account statements?” As I cautiously hand my private and personal information to a complete stranger, his grin turns into a frown. “Did you not read our website? I hardly think $150,000 meets our $50 million minimums.”

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8 Important Times in Life to Talk with Your Financial Planner

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Life moves quickly and big changes often happen in the blink of an eye. As your life circumstances change, it’s important to meet with your financial planner to discuss the potential impact to your financial plan and goals.

Getting Married

Merging two sets of finances together can be difficult. Shortly after you get married, or even before the big day, meet with your financial planner together. They will help you discuss goals, direction for investments and can create a joint financial plan. Combining assets can be much less stressful when you include your financial planner in the process.

Buying or Selling a Home

Your home is likely the largest purchase you will make in your lifetime. When buying, most real estate agents will recommend you talk with your lender to find out what you qualify for, yet the agent and lender rarely consider any of your other financial goals in the equation. On the selling side, the impact of the sale on your overall financial plan is rarely taken into consideration. Since your financial planner understands and is trying to help you achieve all of your long term goals, talking with him/her before buying or selling a home can help you stay on track and avoid mistakes.

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Fee-Only Advisors: What are you actually paying for?

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Oftentimes, making financial decisions can be overwhelming and emotional. In a world inundated with information via the internet, it can be hard to make heads or tails of it all. Working with a financial advisor can provide direction and peace of mind when making decisions, but how do you find a relationship that you can trust?

A good place to start is asking how the advisor is compensated. Working with a fee-only advisor can largely impact the services you receive. A fee-only advisor is paid by the client for the advice they give, not by product sales or commissions. This fee is typically on a project, hourly or retainer basis, or a percentage of assets under management. Be careful not to confuse fee-only with fee-based, which can include a client fee and commission component.

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The Top 3 Advisors You Need for Optimum Financial Health

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Throughout the course of our lives we often find ourselves in need of the benefits various advisors provide. In the realm of finances, there are three types of advisors we see as invaluable to your long term financial health.

1. Estate Planning Attorney

A recent Gallup poll found only half of Americans have created a last will and testament (source). Furthermore, estate planning services seem to be a dime a dozen from cheap online solutions to attorneys who draft the same plan for every client.

Estate planning is often misunderstood. It involves much more than paying estate taxes. Estate planning done well allows you to provide guidance to and appoint person(s) of your choosing to make healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation and may help ensure that your assets are divided amongst heirs as you desire. Building a relationship with a reputable estate planning attorney who understands your unique situation not only makes sense for you, but it also can help offer your loved ones peace of mind that you have a plan in place.

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The Value of Objective Financial Planning

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Outside of a portfolio’s rate of return, it’s often easy to overlook the value that objective, client-focused financial planning brings. Although many financial professionals offer “free” services, do you stop and ask yourself “Hmmm, I wonder how he/she is paid if it’s not by me?” (source).

As objective financial planners, we fully support the “you get what you pay for” belief. Below is a list of just a few of the values we believe objective planning offers. Please feel free to let us know your thoughts on any of the following.

1. An independent financial planner helps protect you from financial salespeople.

According to Bob Veres, “…the Wall Street firms that pretend to offer financial planning guidance are seldom (if ever) looking out for the best interests of their customers.” Unfortunately, as a consumer in our industry, it’s not always easy to recognize when there’s an underlying motive or incentive behind the financial advice you receive.

Brokers might have business cards with the title of “Financial Advisor,” but in reality are often simply salespeople who are paid by their company to sell you as many products as possible. Unless they are a fiduciary, they are expected to do what is in the company’s best interest, not what is in your best interest. They are rewarded when they meet sales targets, and bonuses are often based on the clients they sign (source).

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