Financial planning is a broad, competitive industry. While an older adult might have utilized the services of a professional as they prepared for retirement, they may need to make changes after retiring. Senior care and all of its complexities usually require an advisor well-versed in the business of both senior housing and financial planning.
From being knowledgeable about financing options, such as the Aid and Attendance Benefit for veterans, to understanding how senior living fees are structured, there are many nuances a generalist financial planner might not be aware of. Then there is the personal side of the partnership. You’ll want to find someone who demonstrates not only expertise, but also compassion and interest in working with older adults.
Let’s take a look at where you might find a professional who is a good fit and also consider some questions you can ask when speaking with potential candidates for yourself or a family member.
How to Connect with a Financial Planner You Trust
As is true of many things in life, word-of-mouth and referrals from someone you trust is often best. Ask around to see if any older adults you know have a recommendation or if a friend or colleague who is a caregiver for a senior loved one has some advice. Encourage them to share both good and bad experiences. Other ways you might find potential candidates can include searching industry databases for professionals near your home.
Here are two to explore:
- Financial Planning Association: This database lists everyone who has certified financial planner status and is a member of the Financial Planning Association. Their search box allows you to filter by location, specialty, and fee structure.
- Certified Financial Planners: Another directory of listings for certified financial planners, this one allows you to search by specialty. Categories of interest to older adults and their families could include elder care, long-term care, health care, and retirement income management.
Once you have a few names, you’ll need to identify your priorities for selecting one. Here are some questions that might be helpful.
What to Ask a Potential Financial Advisor
- You’ll no doubt want to create your own list of questions, but here are a few to make sure to ask:
- How long have you been working in this industry?
- Do you specialize in older adults? If yes, how many seniors do you work with in a typical year?
- What is your educational background and training?
- Have you earned any financial designations and/or licenses? (The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is considered the gold standard.)
- Do you have experience with potential funding sources for senior living, such as the Aid and Attendance Benefit, reverse mortgages, or life settlement funds?
- Are you a fiduciary? (This means the financial planner is legally obligated to work in a client’s best interest.)
- Do you have any minimum net worth/asset requirements for clients?
- How do you bill for services (i.e., flat fee or commission) and what is the typical yearly cost?
While you might want to ask some of these questions by phone if you are screening candidates to narrow down your choices, an in-person meeting is usually a necessity.
Financial Resources from Sunrise
At Sunrise, we know and understand that it can be quite confusing to determine how to budget for a move to a senior living community. That’s why we created Financial Options and Planning. In this area of our website, you’ll find more details about resources ranging from short-term bridge loans to the tax benefits of senior living. We hope it will help you connect with options that help make financing this transition easier.