The importance of getting financial planning help now

Jan 31, 2012, 8:49 a.m.

No one wants to spend their golden years living in a cardboard box in the street, and that scenario can be less likely if you figure out how to successfully manage your money to make it last as long as you do. Financial planning is not just for the millionaires; it can be accessible for everyone. A trustworthy financial advisor will not necessarily charge excessive amounts for his services -- otherwise you'd have no finances for him or her to manage. Ask for referrals from your family, friends or other trusted sources to find one that works for you. Then put you financial advisor to work working on ways to ensure you stay safe, secure and comfortable.

Once you decide you are ready to retire, a financial advisor can help you address a number of important issues. Saving as much of your paycheck as possible is a good step, as is getting rid of any debts lingering around. A financial advisor can help explain investment options for savings as well as help come up with a strategic plan to stretch your post-retirement funds to last as long as possible.

Once you do retire, managing your money can be tougher when there is far less coming in. While paying your regular monthly bills remains a top priority, financial planning can help make it possible to do some of those fun things you've always wanted to do. A financial advisor may be able to help you find a bank with special programs for senior citizens. Yes, you hate that word. But you may not hate the discounts, clubs and special programs banks offer for those who fit their definition of it. Some start as young as 50.

Working after retirement may be an option with a part-time job or second career as long as it does not interfere with your retirement or Social Security benefits. A financial advisor can answer those questions as well as others you may have about reverse mortgages or life insurance.

Financial planning makes cents (pun intended) and it's never too early to make it work for you.

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