We hear a great deal these days about decluttering, downsizing and simplifying at home to help us focus on living well rather than accumulating possessions. From Swedish Death Cleaning to the Marie Kondo Method, the trend of keeping only what we truly need and love is far from played out, and for older adults aging in place, getting rid of excess stuff can help prevent falls and make it much easier to move if and when the time comes for a different living arrangement.
But anyone who has been tasked with the challenge of handling an estate for a deceased loved-one will tell you, not only do most older adult’s homes need a good purge, their finances could also use some serious housekeeping. Consolidating assets can not only help retirees improve their financial planning, it can simplify estate planning and make life much easier for those left to manage portfolios, pensions and property after a loved-one dies.
Talking about finances with elderly parents or other loved ones can be a challenge but finding a single financial planner to get all those scattered investments and piles of statements organized, ensuring all are accounted for and well balanced, is worth the discomfort. By consolidating accounts, investors can often lower fees, reduce paperwork to track down at tax time, avoid losing track of accounts and in case of a health problem, save families from dealing with a maze of financial messiness.
Retirees may be concerned about having only one financial advisor they can trust with savings and investments they have worked a lifetime to accumulate. According to Forbes magazine, you should look for credentials like the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and several years of experience as well as a financial education. A good rapport with your advisor will also help investors feel more confident with their investment decisions. To check the background and experience of brokers, advisers and firms, visit www.brokercheck.finra.org . You can also check for any disciplinary actions or conflicts of interest through the SEC’s Investment Adviser Search website, here. In Canada, you can check the backgrounds of regulated advisors on the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada’s website or though the Better Business Bureau .