Does Your Financial Team Communicate and Strategize For You?

financial-team-meeting

So you have a financial advisor? How about an accountant? Also, an attorney, right? Of course, you have a trusted insurance agent? If you said no to any of these questions, it’s time to explore and understand what professional services you need on your side and the value they bring. Even if you have an entire team behind you …do they talk to each other? Do they strategize together? If not, you still have some restructuring to consider. Lack of communication and sharing of information within your financial team can cause problems and cost you money in the long run.

Creating an open line of communication not only streamlines the financial planning process but also ensures nothing is missed. Your financial team will become more effective and efficient with properly sharing information and coordinating.

Your Financial Team

Too often, people take a one-sided view of their finances by working with just one financial professional. This is a good start, but the specific skill sets of financial advisors, accountants, attorneys, and insurance agents are equally important. Putting together a team with these experts will help you achieve the best possible financial future.

The financial advisor will help you reach your future financial goals by guiding you through investment decisions for retirement, establishing an estate plan, coordinating financial transactions, completing trust funding and monitoring your financial growth. Make sure your financial advisor has the appropriate certifications and credentials like a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).

The accountant focuses on asset valuation, tax projections, tax planning, and other tax advice. This person will help you determine the tax impact from the sale or purchase of assets like a property or business. Looking for an accountant you should verify he or she is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) that specializes in tax accounting.

The attorney works to make sure you have the appropriate documents for your medical directives, guardianship, establishment of a trust, caring for a minor child, asset protection, wills, and tax avoidance. When choosing an attorney, you need to confirm he or she handles the legal side of financial matters especially wills and estates.

The insurance agent will analyze and advise on whether you have enough insurance to provide for you and your family in the future. Your insurance agent should review your life, disability, and long-term care policies to ensure you have the appropriate coverage. The insurance agent helps in your financial planning by reducing the risks of future financial hardships.

Asking each prospective team member a few questions at the beginning can set you up for a healthy financial future. Some questions you can ask when talking with your advisors include:

  • What are your credentials and specialties?
  • Do you work in a team?
  • How often do you meet with your clients?
  • Are you willing to provide information and contact my other financial team members?
  • How can you help ensure my other team members get the information they need?

If you already have an individual team member in place, let them know your plans on using a team-focused approach to managing your finances. Talk with them about the transferring of information and your expectations for your financial planning. Once you have decided on your team, you can start planning for your financial future.

 

If you are professional helping clients in one of the above areas and would like to connect or help build a team for your client, reach out to us here: https://signaturewealth.com/referral/

Conflicting Advice

Imagine having to make a financial decision, and two of your trusted advisors just gave you completely different opinions. What should you do? Whom should you follow? You were already unsure; the conflicting recommendations just added a new layer of stress.

This type of situation is not uncommon when your financial team does not work together, and communication is not consistent. When discussing a financial decision with multiple people at different times, valuable information can easily be overlooked. Newer team members might not have the same understanding of the background of your finances. That information may completely change the opinion of the advisor.

So, what do you do when your first advisor tells you to go ahead with the deal, and everything looks good — and your second advisor says you should not proceed? In many cases, customers walk away from the transaction without a second thought. But you may be left wondering if the deal truly would have been the right decision.

In these situations, further discussion, especially with both advisors in the same room, is a necessity at this point. After all, each member has their specialty and one team member might know something that might affect the other team members’ opinions — and your final decision. You never know if collaborating on the deal may create another alternative that could work better than the original agreement.

Lack of Communication Can Have Serious Implications

When your financial team does not communicate with each other, you run the risk of creating a headache for yourself and an unexpected financial situation that could cost you more money. The lack of communication between your financial team members can often cause tough situations that could have been avoided with just professional relationships and dialogue. These things may include:

  • The title for your account is incorrect. Having the wrong name on your accounts may cause a tax implication for you. For example, if your attorney did not advise your financial advisor to set up an account for a Limited Liability Company (LLC), you may have to pay taxes on the assets because the account was set up incorrectly.
  • You lost deductions from the loss on the sale of an asset. If your accountant was not informed of the transaction, you missed the deduction on your tax return.
  • You have to pay taxes on gains of a sale of stocks because the accountant was not notified of the deal.
  • Your wishes are not followed because the insurance agent never received the changes to your beneficiary.
  • Transactions are not recorded, which can affect each team member’s opinion. Whether you forgot to mention it, or the team members didn’t communicate with each other, your finances are hurt in the long run.

When clients are responsible for communicating information to the various advisors, information is often forgotten. But, if the client consents to advisors communicating and sharing the information, errors can be avoided. Communication is the key to ensuring everyone knows precisely what is going to happen and what has happened.

Lack of Action Can Harm Your Finances

A lack of action occurs when one person is expecting another to complete a job or task. When you have a financial team that does not communicate it is very easy to forget or miss something. This situation is similar to the old game “telephone.” You are relying on one person to pass all the necessary information to the correct advisor to complete the various tasks. The lack of action can occur from the following:

  • Your financial advisor requests a new trust, but you forgot to tell your attorney about setting up the new trust account.
  • You decide to change your beneficiaries. You and your attorney have made the changes in your will, but you forgot to update your insurance policies. Your insurance agent is unaware of any change.
  • Your attorney prepares the legal documents for the sale of one of your properties, but your accountant is unaware of the transaction. Your accountant does not remove the asset from your financials, and the gains from the sale are not included in your tax return.

These are just some of the situations that could negatively affect your finances. Correcting the lack-of-action situations is easy — communicate! Before you say you are done, think to yourself “did I tell everyone that needed to know?”

Creating A Solid Financial Plan

The importance of a financial team is crucial to your future financial health by making sure the simple things are not missed, and all avenues are explored. To do this successfully, you (and your team) must communicate.

For you and your team to be on the same page gather all of them in one location at the same time. Create an outline for discussion points at your meetings. List any upcoming decisions both possible and planned. Gather feedback from your team on future transactions. Review anything that was not completed from the last meeting and address what it will take to complete the task. Also, keep everyone informed of any unexpected changes.

These meetings are the checks and balances for everyone. The more you communicate, the easier it is to create an effective and efficient financial plan. To ensure that you stay on the correct financial path, set up regular meetings with your financial team and be consistent with these meetings. Keeping on the right track requires you and your team to review your goals at least annually if not more. If your current plan does not fall in line with your new goals and expectations, change the plan or develop a new one. You and your team need to do “Whatever it takes” to reach the financial future you expect.

 

If you are professional helping clients in one of the above areas and would like to connect or help build a team for your client, reach out to us here: https://signaturewealth.com/referral/

 

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Raymond James. All opinions are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.
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