Financial planners have variety of options to help you

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 9, 2009

There are many do-it-yourself investment resources available to investors today, but none of them can replace the experienced personal service financial advisors provide.

They have the expertise and resources to offer an understanding of your complete financial picture, not just your investments.

Additionally, in periods of market volatility, when you need the most support, financial advisors can also provide access to important decision-making research and information, ongoing monitoring of your investment portfolio while anticipating your changing needs and a comprehensive plan for retirement that takes into consideration your other goals like education funding and estate planning.

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Have a plan

Developing a financial plan is one of the best ways to meet your long-term goals. Your plan should also include a market volatility action plan to help you set realistic goals and manage return expectations in “what if” situations.

Financial advisors can create a new plan for you or refine an existing one. Importantly, we will also follow up at set intervals or whenever changes in your life warrant a financial review.

Invest regularly

If you are still working, saving part of your salary for your retirement is an excellent way to rebuild savings that were depressed by market conditions. Your investment could buy more shares of lower-prices equities and other securities that are “On sale” due to market conditions but show good potential.

If you don’t feel comfortable investing in more equities, you can choose investments with less risk for your new contributions. Financial advisors can generate an asset allocations analysis to ensure that your financial holdings, both inside and outside of your retirement accounts, are working together to provide you with a well-diversified portfolio that meets your needs and risk parameters.

Consider working longer

As the unemployment rate continues to rise, holding onto a good-paying job that brings in regular income can be your lifeline prior t o and even during retirement. According to a 2007 Urban Institute study, the combination of working longer, continuing to save, reducing spending and delaying Social Security benefits could significantly increase y our retirement income. Just like part-time retirement could help control the uncertainties of the financial markets by providing an extra cushion of income to fund the pleasure of your retirement.

Check your cash flow

Keeping track of where your money goes can give you a better picture of how long your retirement funds might last, or how much you might need to save. Financial advisors can perform a cash-flow analysis to take the guessing out of this process.

Bill byrne is a financial planner at Smith Barney in Natchez. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC and its affiliate do not proved tax or legal advice. To the extent that this material or any attachment concerns tax matters, it is not intended to be used and cannot be used by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Any such taxpayer should seek advice based on the taxpayers particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor