Financial Services Advice

Financial services advice, fickle as it can be sometimes, is available at online websites, at a planner's office downtown or even in well-known money advice magazines. The advice can be fickle at times because of uncertainties that the overall money market can present as well as the agendas of the advice givers. When the term financial services is used, the words most often convey packaged solutions, sold by banks, fiscal planners and insurance and investment companies. On the other hand, a money advisor is usually independent of any financial services company employment and works on a fee basis rather than commission. Fiscal counsel can very often pay off handsomely for the customers who buy and use the company's products such as life insurance, money market funds and investment tools. It is from that gain in wealth that the planner is paid a commission.

Before the late 1990's banks, investment houses, insurance companies and brokerage houses worked independently, each offering its own part of the product pie to potential customers. Then the federal government allowed them to merge and now large companies offer combinations of life insurance, investment packages and retirement plans under the same roof. The large mergers that resulted between large banks and corporations created a new service sector called financial services. And the agents for those new companies, called planners, now dispense financial services advice and products that have driven twenty percent of the money growth market over the last ten years. Many people have gotten much wealthier by following the counsel of the planners.

When a person seeks financial services advice from a planner or agent of a large money management company, the beginning exercise will be a full and complete disclosure of income, assets and liabilities. This would occur with either a planner or a fee based advisor. Nothing can be planned and no direction can be charted until the planner knows what the goals and desires are of the client. From that opening disclosure comes the overall packaged product that the planner recommends. In order to see the genius and grandeur of God's salvation plan for mankind, follow the words of Jesus. "Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

With the power of merged corporations, counsel from money management planners might begin with a look at a person's life insurance coverage. Few people ever buy whole life insurance anymore which is very expensive but rather the look is to a term life insurance policy to cover sudden life loss of key economic members of the family. Financial services advice would be to at least have enough term insurance to replace the loss of three to four years income from a key family provider. For younger families term insurance can be very reasonable and will not be a large burden on a budget. For the family struggling with debt, another step might be counseled to take on the road to fiscal betterment.

Since money management services are very often linked to banks, it becomes possible for a client to apply for a debt consolidation loan covering unsecured and perhaps even some long-term secured loans at a lower interest rate right along with that life insurance purchase. With credit card interest rates often hovering in the 18-25% range and even higher, a consolidation loan at perhaps half the interest rate can lower a client's monthly payment and free up needed cash for other services the planner can extend. Financial services advice to borrow more money to cover bad debt is a hotly debated issue and while the solution may be good for a select few individual's circumstances, this particular product offered by a planner could be the wrong move in the long term. In realistic terms, cutting all debt would be the sanest approach to debt reduction so before a planner or advisor offers more debt to cover debt, a genuine approach to a mountain of fiscal obligations would be to shed many of the unneeded and unnecessary possessions one has accumulated over the years. Going to a simpler lifestyle truly ought to be one of the great hallmarks of genuine money management services advice.

Of course, investment opportunities are the bread and butter of the financial service industry. With the advent of the mergers, financial services advice will certainly include the purchase of investments such as money market investments that are pre chosen by the planner's company. Money markets and stock investments are not protected as bank deposits are and will be subject to losses and declines from day to day. Typically, extra income often found from a debt consolidation loan agreement would be encouraged to pay for the investment packages offered by the financial services advice planner.

For the most developed of financial service companies, there may even be the possibility of purchasing long term disability insurance, annuities and other financial products that can further enhance one's fiscal health and well being. There are no real negative downsides to the financial services advice received from these large financial institutions with the exception that if purchased together the products will provide agents with very large commissions year after year. Instead of employing one company to handle all of these services, it could well serve the customer to seek each of these products out individually and try to find more cost efficient models to employ in a plan to better manage one's assets. Of course there are more issues to tackle when it comes to money management such as estate issues, retirement goals and tax benefits, but following the counsel of a money planner will usually play out nicely for the consumer but there will be high costs for the products utilized.

Financial Planning Advice

Following financial planning advice from an expert can dramatically change a person's fiscal situation. However that advice can also come from one's father, uncle, cousin, neighbor or the woman in the next cubicle and the advice will come fast and furiously and will consist of each person contradicting the one before. You'll hear things like, "Sell this, buy that, put your money here, invest your money in that, this scheme worked for me and will work for you too if you'll turn around and quack like a duck." Listen, in the volatile markets and times we live in, a person might be better off just jumping in a hole with all his money and covering up behind. But much smarter people have said that this climate is the perfect opportunity to make smart investments and later make a lot of money, so where does one go for solid and believable information? One answer would be a professional who, first, majors in dispensing daily financial planning advice and directions and second, makes a good income doing so because of commissions from that advice. But a lot of people can't afford to pay a professional financial planner, so then developing one's own plan is the second option, and there is a great plan for doing that very thing.

Setting priorities is the first step in developing a sound financial plan. This could easily begin with writing a mission statement for oneself, much like businesses do. A mission statement for life is the measuring stick against which all other decisions are made. Writing a mission statement forces a person to go deep and think about what is really important and what it will take financially to achieve life goals. Financial planning advice from some experts would start right in with budgeting, but how can there be a respected and followed budget if there is not an agreed and shared philosophy that defines that budget?

Once a mission statement has been developed, then the actual budgeting process begins. For a newly married couple, the development of the mission statement can be an exciting time of intimate conversation that sets up a fruitful effort at making a budget. But for the family that has been in operation for a while, and the money train has already run off the track, the mission statement can be a very painful reminder that immediate budgetary corrections need to be made. Financial planning advice is abundant regarding budgeting structure, but deciding the must have's, the want to have's and the dreams will help decide how much will go into each of those areas. "I must have a refrigerator and I want to have one that is stainless steel and I am dreaming of a twenty four cubic foot beauty with a television in the front door." Which of the three options wins out in the budget battle? It might come back to the mission statement.

Giving out financial planning advice will always include the topic of over expenses. And again, sorry to say, many of these will be guided by the mission statement. There are fixed expenses that cannot be altered such as rent or mortgage, certain utilities, cell phone, insurance, installment loans, student loans, etc. But it's those dastardly nebulous expenses such as credit card account(s), car fuel, food, eating out, date night expenses, gifts for family, hobbies, the gym, even electricity in many cases, weekend trips, and so many other items that suck up so much money. How will these be handled and controlled? Uhh, think mission statement. When people came to Jesus worried about financial things and about where they would find their next meal, He answered their concerns with a startling promise. "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

Financial planning advice will always include a plan to eliminate overpowering debt, usually of the unsecured type aka credit card accounts. If a couple or a recent graduate is just beginning the long fiscal journey, the mission statement may help steer away from more than a modicum of plastic card. If the account cannot be paid off in total every month, don't use the plastic. But if family is just now getting around to looking and listening to financial planning advice, the advice about modicum may be waaaay past helpful. The condensed version for dealing with unsecured debt is to get rid of it with wise and prudent action. Take every bit of money left over from pared down expenses and put it on the principle of the highest interest card. And the mission statement might cause a family to look around say, "We really don't need all this stuff!" And a garage sale or an EBay auction just might be the answer, if all the proceeds are put on the revolving accounts. Getting second jobs and putting the wages on out of control debt principle is another very workable idea.

Of course, sound financial planning advice will include a savings plan and an account for retirement. It seems to appear that social security will not even be available for Baby Boomers, and if that is true a retirement plan and savings account will be the only Golden Parachute available for the average person. One of the saddest things that the younger generation might one day hear as they walk the halls of nursing homes is the phrase, "If I had only_____." The time is now: a mission statement, priorities, and a resulting budget can bring a real sense of ease to a person.

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