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About Financial Planners
(Provided by Divorce Source Staff)

Since one of the most prominent issues in any divorce is the financial aspect, the employment of financial planners frequently comes into play. This, of course, is dependent upon the nature and scope of a particular couple’s assets. However, it is critical to bear in mind that there are three main types of financial planners. Act accordingly. Some fiscal advisors will charge a flat fee for consultation with respect to and/or development of an actual complete plan relating to all financial issues. Others work on commission, meaning they will earn their actual income through the sale of specific investments. It is important to remember that this type of professional, because of the nature of his or her work, might intentionally or otherwise have outside bias with respect to their advice. And lastly, some will be compensated through a combination of both a fee and a commission. Given the fact that financial planning can be very detail oriented and potentially critical to a person’s future financial stability, these types of professionals and their services are being retained more and more often. As always, however, it is necessary that the right questions be asked of such professionals and a thorough analysis of all options available be undertaken before any effective conclusions can be reached.
A few things with which a that financial planner will assist you:

- Which assets are feasible for you to keep.
- Help you understand your tax consequences.
- Whether to take a lump sum or deferred distribution in regards to retirement funds.
- Investment advice for education funding for the child(ren).
- Recommending changes in your will and estate planning.
- Point out cash resources for immediate income.
- Set realistic and obtainable financial goals.

The specialization of financial planners come in many different shapes and sizes. An accountant is one who can provide a wide selection of services, from the audit of a business to the assessment of an employee benefits plan. A Certified Public Accountant can oftentimes operate as a specific tax consultant, however, not all do so. For people with tax concerns, the Enrolled Agent, a tax specialist licensed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service, might be the best place to begin consultations. For a spouse who has reason to believe the other is attempting to hide assets or perhaps alter or misrepresent financial facts, a Forensic Accountant is one who is specially trained to trace properties, evaluate financial reports, and assess value for businesses.

Stockbrokers, as do Money Managers, deal strictly with investment matters. Whereas stockbrokers are paid commissions on the client’s monies invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or annuities, money managers charge a flat fee for the creation and development of a specific investment portfolio. Whereas stockbrokers by nature will focus their attentions on the performance of a particular stock or mutual fund, for example, a money manager is more concerned with the performance of the overall portfolio and how that relates to your stated short and long-term goals. Again, as in the case of anyone who is paid on a commission-only basis, it is imperative to recognize any potential motives behind the offering of any specific financial advice.

Your Banking Institution and it’s representative(s) are often a great source of not only advice but actual implementation with respect to financial concerns. The opening of, or cancellation of lines of credit, establishment or transfer of accounts, and transaction of loans are services they provide as a matter of course. It is, however, important to bear in mind that bankers, unlike stockbrokers or money managers, often have certain and limited areas of expertise. And, while bank employees are often salaried employees, they sometimes double as salespeople promoting their own institution’s products and services and may be also paid on a commission basis so you will need to think and act accordingly.

Information provided by:
Divorce Source Staff

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