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In short, Certified Financial Planners (CFP) represent the highest tier of financial advising, such that they have gone through extensive training to achieve the official CFP designation through the American College. Accordingly, we have partnered with several CFP’s in the Philadelphia PA area to provide you with easy access to these professionals for all of your financial planning needs. Our Philadelphia Certified Financial Planners are willing to help you create a financial plan that covers all aspects of your financial situation and help grow and protect your assets. Our Certified Financial Planners in Philadelphia have the expertise and experience to assist you no matter your financial needs.
The Role of a Philadelphia Financial Planner
The role of a Certified Financial Planner in Philadelphia PA is to provide the right services and products to develop a successful plan that addresses all the needs and goals of their clients. Ultimately, our financial planners in Philadelphia are capable of providing a full range of financial services, as they have the training and expertise to assist in all facets of the financial planning process, from insurance planning, to retirement planning, asset allocation, business owner benefits, and all other areas of financial planning.
When it comes to protecting your assets, income, family and/or business, our financial planners in Philadelphia can provide you with a detailed analysis of the proper insurance options based on your goals. To the right, you can view a sample financial analysis that provides a full, 360 degree overview of a client’s personal financial situation, along with strategy recommendations. One area in particular has to do with risk management, which means protecting your financial security through the use of life insurance, disability insurance, and/or long term care insurance. It is the job of our CFPs to help you understand which insurance options are appropriate for your goals, along with recommendations on the right type of policy, meaning the company issuing the policy, the amount, and features and benefits associated with the insurance plans to suit your personal situation.
With life insurance, the main questions are: How much and what type? When our Philadelphia financial planners analyze your life insurance needs, determining “how much” life insurance is both a science and an art. There are many variables that go into calculating the correct amount of life insurance, such as current debt (ie. mortgage), future education expenses, day care services for a child, yearly income for your spouse, etc…Unfortunately, it has become common place for us to hear radio and TV commercials promoting the purchase of “cheap” life insurance because, that that cheap life insurance policy may not be appropriate for your family, and it may come back to haunt you in the future. What is important is that you work with a professional who can provide you with an accurate analysis of the correct amount of coverage so that you do not have to second guess whether you are making the correct life insurance purchase or not.
Term Life Insurance
In addition to the amount of life insurance, you also need to determine the type. Typically, life insurance comes in two forms: Term and Permanent life insurance. Term, just as it implies, is temporary and lasts for a specified period of time, such as 10 or 20 year term. This type of life insurance is the cheapest, but it can also expire, as dictated by the term length. So if you buy $1,000,000 of 20 year term insurance, at the end of the 20 years, that policy will expire and you will need to buy a new policy, which is subject to new medical underwriting. Given that you will be 20 years older at this point, that alone will increase the annual cost for the insurance, regardless of any additional health issues that may have developed during those 20 years. It is also important to note that with most term insurance policies, there is a “conversion period,” where you can convert all or a portion of your insurance to a permanent policy without having to go through medical underwriting. So, if you do encounter some health issues and you realize that you will need life insurance in place for your family longer than the specific period of your term policy, you can convert to a permanent policy. Different companies offer different conversion periods, so your Philadelphia financial planner will be able to inform you of the specific conversion period associated with the term insurance policy.
Overall, term insurance is a great way to get a lot of life insurance at a low cost (compared to permanent insurance). However, it is important to understand the pitfalls of this type of policy and how it will affect the future financial security of your family.
Permanent Life Insurance
Unlike term insurance, as the name suggests, permanent life insurance is just that, permanent. As long as premiums are paid, the policy will stay in force and provide a death benefit for the duration of your life. Accordingly, the cost for this type of insurance will be greater in comparison to term insurance. However, permanent insurance offer additional benefits besides just a death benefit. Permanent policies have the ability to accumulate cash value within the policy that can be used in the future to actually pay the premiums, be withdrawn as a source of income, or even be used as collateral for a loan. Within the category of permanent life insurance, there are several “flavors.” The most popular types are whole life, universal life, variable universal life, and indexed universal life. The main differences between these policies are how the cash value accumulates. For example, a variable universal life insurance policy’s cash value is subject to the fluctuations of the underlying investments, hence the term “variable.” Essentially, the cash value is exposed to the conditions of the market. In comparison, a whole life policy’s cash value is determined by the dividends, or performance, of the underlying insurance company. This rate is typically fixed.
There are variety of additional variables and considerations when choosing the proper type of permanent life insurance. Your financial planner can develop illustrations for you to show you how each type of policy will function, and the associated features and benefits, and which policy is most appropriate for your situation.
Disability insurance is one of the most overlooked aspects of financial planning, however it is also one of the most important. We are all very familiar with purchasing insurance to protect our assets, such as homeowners insurance and car insurance. But, what about the greatest asset of all…your income, or more specifically, your ability to earn an income?
Disability insurance is often overlooked because many feel that they are covered by their employer-sponsored disability coverage. If you do have a policy through your employer, it absolutely does provide a benefit, but the question is, is it enough to maintain your standard of living? Often times the answer is no. Most company disability insurance policies provide you with 60% of your income in the event you can no longer work for the company due to disability. But, what many forget is, that income is then taxed. So in reality, if you become disabled and rely solely on your company’s disability coverage, you will take home an income closer to 40% of your normal salary. This is why a personal disability insurance policy is so important. It can sit on top of your employer’s plan to provide you with a total income replacement closer to 70% of your income.
Definition of Disability
So, what actually qualifies as a disability? This is a simple question that does not have a simple answer. When it comes to your disability insurance policy, this question is one that needs to be addressed right from the start. Different policies offer different definitions of disability. The main question that you need to ask, and one that your CFP can help you answer is the following:
- If I cannot perform the duties of my job, but I can work somewhere else, do I still receive disability payments?
- The answer to this question is the difference between Own Occupation and Any Occupation disability coverage. Own occupation says that if you cannot perform the material duties of your current occupation, but you can work in another occupation, then you can still receive disability benefits. In contrast, the “Any Occupation” definition states that if you cannot perform the duties of any occupation, then you will not receive disability benefits.
There are additional definitions and variables that need to be considered, such as:
- Does your policy consider both injury and illness as a disability?
- What if you can perform some duties of your job, but not all of them?
- What is considered a total disability?
It is important that you work with one of our Philadelphia financial planners who can walk you through the pros and cons of various types of disability policies, and ultimately provide you with a recommendation on the best policy based on your personal situation.
Long Term Care
Typically you will not need to consider purchasing long term care insurance until you start approaching retirement age. Of course, the earlier you purchase it, the more cost effective it will be. In short, long term care insurance provides you and/or your spouse with a daily benefit to pay for assisted living and nursing home costs. In most cities, long term care costs can exceed over $100,000, and at that price tag, it can deplete your assets very quickly.
What Triggers Long Term Care Benefits
There are 6 main activities of daily living (ADLs):
Typically, if you cannot perform three of the six ADLs, then the insurance company will issue long term care benefits (provided you have a long term care policy in place already). If you do not have a policy in place already and you are unable to perform 1 or more of these ADLs, then it may be more difficult, or more costly, to obtain a long term care policy.
As with all insurance policies, different companies offer different types of policies with varying benefits. Therefore it is important to consult with a local Philadelphia financial planner to receive personalized long term care insurance recommendations.
We invest our money for all sorts of reasons, and there are literally thousands of different types of financial vehicles and companies to invest your money with. Choosing the right investment vehicle, with the right company, with the proper asset allocation to accomplish your goals can be a daunting task. Investing is one of those things that you need to get right, right from the start, otherwise, you can cost yourself a lot of money, and more importantly, you may not reach your desired goal. Furthermore, you cannot go back and fix those early mistakes. Therefore, it is vitally important that you work with one of our certified Philadelphia financial planners to get you on the right track today.
Retirement is the ultimate goal that we all invest and plan for. Accordingly, there are many financial vehicles that exist in order to help us invest consistently and efficiently, especially in regards to taxes. We have 401(k) plans, Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, annuities, mutual funds, and many more…Are you using all of these vehicles efficiently? How do you choose when to pay your taxes? Now or in retirement? Should you purchase an annuity? How much should you invest in your 401(k)? Where should you rollover your 401(k) if you change jobs? And the biggest question of them all, will you run out of money in retirement? These are questions and concerns that keep many of us up at night. Unfortunately, if you watch those financial advice shows on TV, many of them advocate to do your own financial planning and to invest on your own, all the while listening to their generic advice on investing. The problem with this is, these “pundits” have no idea about your personal goals and financial situation. Their advice may be great for your neighbor, but awful for you. Let one of our financial planners in Philadelphia do a free financial analysis for you so that you can finally get real answers and real recommendations on the best investment strategies based on your goals.
A Certified Financial Planner can determine how much money and assets you would need at the time of retirement so that you do not run out of money. Your Certified Financial Planner in Philadelphia will be able to calculate how much money you need to invest monthly from the start of your plan to achieve your retirement goals. Right now, the best thing for you to do is to get your financial plan in order today with the help of a local CFP.
With college costs on the rise, planning and investing early is of the utmost priority in order to avoid having to take out loans in the future. There are financial vehicles called 529 College Savings Plans that are desired specifically for education costs. These vehicles allow you to invest on a tax deferred basis and withdraw the money tax free, as long as the money is used for qualified education expenses. However, while setting one up is easy, the asset allocation strategy that you should use needs to be adjusted yearly. The closer you get to the target year, you need to scale back your risk exposure so that your nest egg does not get depleted if the market downswings. Your local CFP can help you with these strategies so that your 529 plan works as efficiently as possible, as well as knowing exactly how much you need to start saving today to hit your goal by the time your child is ready for college.
Whether you are saving for retirement, education, or some other goal, there is always a goal, and accordingly, your asset allocation strategy needs to match that goal. If your goal is 5 years away, your asset allocation strategy will be significantly different compared to a goal that is 30 years away. In addition, you can choose between stocks, bonds, mutual funds, hedge funds, and many other types of investments. Based on your goals, a financial planner will be able to recommend the exact vehicles, companies, and risk exposure to use to accomplish those goals, while also doing it on a tax efficient basis.
Get started today by filling out the form and questionnaire to follow, and you will get matched up with one of the best financial planners Philadelphia has to offer.