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I just retired at 64. My husband is 73 and beginning to have health issues. We need a financial plan and to figure out what to do with Social Security. What’s our move?  


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Question: I’m in need of a fiduciary financial planner. I recently retired at 64 years old. My husband is 73 and beginning to have health issues, and I have no idea what to do regarding finances and Social Security, etc. Who should I be looking for to help me navigate this? (Looking for a financial adviser too? This tool can help match you with an adviser who might meet your needs.)

Answer: It’s great that you already know you’re in need of a fiduciary planner,  as a fiduciary is required by law to uphold their clients’ best interests. That means they won’t sell products or earn a commission on something that doesn’t benefit the client.

To find one, look for an adviser who is fee-only and consider a registered investment adviser or a certified financial planner. Use a resource like the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors to search for fee-only advisers, recommends certified financial planner Joe Favorito at Landmark Wealth Management. Other spots you can look include Garrett Planning Network and XY Planning Network. (Looking for a financial adviser? This tool can help match you with an adviser who might meet your needs.)

It’s not enough just to find a fiduciary. You also want someone who specializes in retirees, says certified financial planner Philip Mock at 1522 Financial. That person can help you with your investment options, withdrawal strategy, cash flow, Social Security and Medicare questions, and more.

Have issues with your a financail adviser or looking for a new one? Email picks@marketwatch.com.

The adviser you choose should gather information about you and your situation like your cash flow, debts, current accounts and any goals you and your husband both have. “If agreed upon, they can help paper accounts, handle transfers and embark on the strategy,” says certified financial planner Ted Halpern of Halpern Financial. Based on your specific situation, Halpern says a review of cash flow along with any debts should be the first step. “Then, the adviser can help with a plan to optimize Social Security for you as it relates to your husband’s benefits too,” says Halpern.

To find out what kind of experience your adviser has, ask them about the types of clients they work with and if they have anyone with a situation similar to yours. Then, you can ask to speak to their references and get a firsthand account of their experience working with that adviser. (Looking for a financial adviser? This tool can help match you with an adviser who might meet your needs.)

Other things you may want to consider are long-term care insurance, as well as tax and estate planning. “A true fee-only adviser may not sell insurance but can refer a specialist. Similarly, they would be able to refer you to other support your situation might require like a CPA or estate attorney,” says Halpern. 

Adds certified financial planner Philip Mock at 1522 Financial: “Given that your husband is also having some health issues, I would recommend you also seek out an estate planning attorney. It’s a specialized field, so it should not be handled by a generalist attorney. A comprehensive estate plan would potentially include a will, trust, financial powers of attorney, medical advance directives and more. An attorney would walk you through which of those documents are appropriate for your citation and help you draft an estate plan that meets your needs,” says Mock.

Have issues with your a financail adviser or looking for a new one? Email picks@marketwatch.com.

The advice, recommendations or rankings expressed in this article are those of MarketWatch Picks, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our commercial partners.

Credit: marketwatch.com

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