I’m a 61-year-old flight attendant who wants to retire at 70. I’ll have a $900 per month pension and will get Social Security, but only have $150K in the 401(k). Should I get professional help?

This flight attendant is looking for financial help from an advisor, but how should she choose the right one?

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Question: I think I need a financial advisor. I am 61 and plan on retiring at 70. I am a flight attendant and will receive a pension at just over $900 per month. I have a 401(k) with a balance of just over $150,000, and I will receive Social Security when I retire. I’ve never had a financial planner and hope it’s not too late to start with one. The goal is to max out my 401(k) and just use common sense with my spending. I am single and have no children. Any advice or suggestions on who to contact or how to proceed would be appreciated. (Looking for a new financial advisor too? This tool can help match you with an advisor who can meet your needs.)

answer: We praise you in the hope of boosting your bottom line, and it’s not too late to find a financial planner to help you, if you decide to go that route. “You’re in what I call the mad dash to retirement, where people who may not have been paying enough attention to savings and investing start turning on the savings afterburner,” says Jim Kinney, a certified financial planner at Financial Pathways.

On the surface, it sounds like your needs are pretty simple and straightforward. If you choose a planner, “I would recommend looking for a financial planner who is fee-only, meaning they only work for you and don’t sell you insurance or investment products,” says Kinney. And, say the pros, it’s also likely that you’ll benefit from an hourly or project-based advisor, who will charge you a flat fee or an hourly fee to give you financial advice, rather than managing your investments for you. (Looking for a new financial advisor too? This tool can help match you with an advisor who can meet your needs.)

“Some advisors just want to manage money. They won’t want to work with you if most of your savings are in your employer’s 401(k). But you can find advisors who don’t require you to invest through the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) or Garrett Planning Network – just make sure to explain that you are looking for retirement planning, not investment management, “said Kinney. . Fees can vary widely, but know that it is negotiable – just stress that your life is uncomplicated and you only need simple projections and guidance. this what you can pay for financial advice.

Having trouble with your financial advisor or wanting a new one? Email [email protected]

An advisor can take a complete look at your income and spending, your risk tolerance, your asset allocation and your long-term goals – and from that create a plan for you that will help you achieve your goals.

There are also some issues that you need to address, including when starting Social Security, because you can maximize your benefits when you wait until age 70. It will allow you to have money to access at 70 when your pension starts and can delay taking the required minimum distribution from 401(k) until age 72,” says certified financial planner Cheryl Morhauser. In fact, delaying Social Security generally provides an 8% raise each year from 62 to 70, says Certified Financial Planner Brian Fry of Safe Landing Financial.

You should also consider which investments are the best fit for your risk tolerance profile to ensure you survive market volatility like we are seeing today. “A financial planner can provide strategic Roth conversion advice on an annual basis, exposing taxable income to lower brackets now instead of higher brackets in the future, and they can manage exposure to higher income brackets when withdrawing from an IRA, while minimizing risk . from exposure to surplus Medicare premium surcharges,” says Certified Financial Planner Jeff Stewart of Lucid Wealth Planning.

Additionally, a financial planner can evaluate the benefits, drawbacks, costs and community long-term care options; evaluate health insurance; offer ongoing education and support; and implement discipline, unemotional and repeatable rebalancing strategies, reduce the risk of behavioral errors, says Stewart. (Looking for a new financial advisor too? This tool can help match you with an advisor who can meet your needs.)

You want to make sure your money lasts your lifetime, and you want to work with an advisor to “run through several what-if scenarios when making big decisions,” says certified financial planner DeeDee Baze of Alphemita Financial Services.

And, of course, you can do this yourself. Consider books like I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi; The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Mel Lindauer, Michael LeBoeuf and Taylor Larimore; and Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Additionally, there are many free online courses available including Finance for Everyone, How to Save Money: Making Smart Financial Decisions (an archived University of California, Berkeley course) and Purdue University Planning for a Secure Retirement.

Having trouble with your financial advisor or wanting a new one? Email [email protected]

Questions edited for brevity and clarity.

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