• What is a Financial Advisor?

  • by Austin Quinn

For many Americans unfamiliar with the world of Wall Street, financial jargon and complex market trends can intimidate and dissuade many a potential investor. An average American family wondering how to best invest their assets, protect their savings, or compile a simple budget often turned to stockbrokers, community bankers, or even insurance sales representatives in the past. However, in recent years a new field of energetic, driven professionals has emerged to meet America’s growing need for financial advice. Meet the financial advisor, ranked by U.S News & World Report as one of the top five jobs in business.

Essentially, a financial advisor meets with clients and helps them reach their financial goals. Whether they’re creating budgets or establishing retirement plans, financial advisors ensure that their clients are prepared for the future. Oftentimes, clients choose to invest with the aid of a financial advisor who can meet regularly to discuss important investments. While financial advisors often direct clients toward a safe, comfortable future, they also manage unexpected difficulties; if a sudden medical emergency or divorce calls for a change of plans, financial advisors will be there to help. As explained by Eric Schaefer of the wealth management and investment planning firm Savant Capitalin, “Good financial advisors and good teachers tend to have a lot of traits in common.” Advisors must sympathize with their clients, understand their goals, and guide them through both financial challenges and simple steps alike.

For aspiring advisors, the future looks bright. As one of the fastest growing jobs over the next decade, this occupation shows a projected growth rate at 27 percent through 2022 as described by the Labor Department. Despite the increasing frequency of online advice and personal finance forums on sites like Reddit, aging baby boomers have driven growth rates as more and more seniors seek help when planning for retirement.

Speaking of retirement, some financial advisors have recently turned towards reverse mortgages as an option for many of their boomer clients. According to advisor Brian Rezny, “People just don’t have the money. They lost a lot in 2008, and the horror stories were mounting, one after another: flipper homes; other poor investments, the implosion of real estate. They haven’t made up the losses but they’ve been overspending and drawing down their principal – so they have much less to live on now than they did five years ago.”

For many seniors in similar situations, lacking savings but possessing substantial home equity, reverse mortgages may serve as an attractive alternative. Although Rezny says that he didn’t have to recommend reverse mortgages five years ago, he recommends it to as many as 90% of his senior clients now. To meet retirement goals and give investment portfolios more time to grow, Rezny advises clients to clear up their debt and get a reverse mortgage. Particularly helpful for homeowners struggling with monthly mortgage payments, reverse mortgages can eliminate said payments* while opening up access to remaining equity and improving financial security.

While many retirees in the 1990s considered reverse mortgages a loan of last resort, times have changed. For most borrowers, reverse mortgages remain an option in their financial toolkit like any other, serving as a safety net for the future.

*Homeowner is still responsible for taxes, insurance and property maintenance.