5 ways a financial advisor can help you

Pursue your dreams confidently with the benefit of an advisor’s experience and knowledge

Talking to your advisor can help you stay—or get—on the right track, whether you're trying to navigate market volatility, manage your investments, reduce debt or protect your assets.

Based on a recent survey, people who work with an advisor are two times as likely to feel financially secure as those who do not. They're also more likely to feel that they are headed in the right direction personally and that they have financial plans built to endure market ups and downs.1


Here are five ways a financial advisor helps you make sense of your existing assets and set a course to help you pursue your various financial goals.

Benefit 1: Find the right mix for your goals

When you select investments, whether in your retirement accounts or other brokerage accounts, you hope they will grow in value. But the markets can be complicated, and different types of investments may perform better than others in different market conditions. A financial advisor can assist you in finding the right investment mix to help you pursue your goals in all market conditions.

An advisor takes into account your risk tolerance level, your investment style and the type of legacy you want to leave your loved ones. Using that information, they work with you to develop a plan suited to your goals and designed to address important objectives.

Benefit 2: Adjust to changing market conditions

You have other priorities in your life beyond your investment accounts. But the strategy of "set it and forget it" doesn't allow for changing conditions, either in the market or your life. Staying the course and pursuing long-term goals doesn't always mean not taking any action. A financial advisor helps you regularly rebalance your account and realigns your plan to make sure it’s still optimal for your goals.2

Part of that assistance is to help make sure you have a diversified portfolio, with different types of investments or within different sectors of the market, to help keep you balanced even when conditions become rocky.3 Regularly discussing significant changes in your life can also help your advisor ensure you're staying on the right track to reach your goals.

Benefit 3: Remove emotion from the equation

By creating a long-term plan, an advisor helps you take emotion out of the investing equation. You may be tempted to make changes when the market fluctuates. But numerous studies have shown that trying to time the market typically results in lower overall returns because long-term investors who try to time the market are more likely to miss the good days in the market. Consider that between 1999 and 2018, investors who missed the 10 top-performing days in the market had only a 2.01% annualized return, compared to 5.62% for those who stayed continuously invested.4

5ways a financial advisor can help article chart

Your financial advisor serves as a voice of reason, letting you know whether you're still on track to meet your goals, or whether you need to consider changing them or your strategy for pursuing them.

Benefit 4: Help you prioritize 

What are your financial goals? Although retirement may be at the top of your list, you likely have other goals too, such as paying for your child’s education, traveling, leaving a legacy or even owning a second home. Balancing these priorities might be difficult, but a good financial plan provides a road map for both short- and long-term goals. An advisor’s role is to answer your questions and discuss any potential changes to your plan as your goals shift.

Benefit 5: Make adjustments as life changes

Your advisor works with you to create a plan that helps you pursue your financial goals—and then ensures it continues to do so as your life progresses, priorities change and markets shift. Some changes, such as unexpected healthcare expenses or new rules for retirement plans, may not be a part of your initial strategy. But if they occur, you’ll need to be able to adjust your plan quickly to address them. Don’t forget that not all unexpected events are negative—you might find yourself with a new, higher-paying job, for example, or a new grandchild.

Developing a relationship with a financial advisor allows you to take advantage of a high level of market knowledge and experience. Your customized strategy may help you feel more confident that you have the expertise on your side to pursue all your financial goals.

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1 "Planning & Progress Study 2019," Northwestern Mutual

2 Rebalancing does not protect against loss or guarantee that an investor's goals will be met.

3 Diversification is a technique to help reduce risk. It is not guaranteed to protect against loss.

4 The S&P 500 index measures the performance of 500 widely held stocks in U.S. equity market. You cannot invest directly in any index. Unlike mutual funds, index returns do not reflect a deduction for fees or expenses.

This material is for informational or educational purposes only and does not constitute fiduciary investment advice under ERISA, a securities recommendation under all securities laws, or an insurance product recommendation under state insurance laws or regulations. This material does not take into account any specific objectives or circumstances of any particular investor, or suggest any specific course of action. Investment decisions should be made based on the investor’s own objectives and circumstances. Please consult your financial or tax professional before taking any action.

Advisory services are provided by Advice & Planning Services, a division of TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser.