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Janice France-Pettit: Building a financial team is essential

Union Bank

Posted: November 13, 2009 10:03 p.m.
Updated: November 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Many people are consumed with trying to build their wealth, and often forget to manage it properly. It is now more essential than ever to make sure you minimize risks and seek the proper professional advice to make the most of your hard-earned financial gains.

Now is the time to surround yourself with a strong team of advisors.

Your financial team may consist of several professionals, from a trusted banker and knowledgeable certified public accountant, to an attorney and financial advisor. While finding advisors may require research and personal referrals, once you have your team in place, the benefits of having specialists behind you should become immediately evident.

Here are some of the specialists who may help you navigate the economic climate and changing tax rules and show you how to grow your nest egg:

n Certified Public Accountant — A CPA is a highly trained, certified accounting professional whose primary job is to provide accurate advice on income taxation. As tax rules and regulations change every year, your CPA plays an important role in keeping you current and may help save you money on your tax return. This is especially so if your return is complex.  

You may find a CPA who is also a certified financial planner to advise you on estate planning and financial needs. Your local banker or attorney may also have recommendations for a CPA, but you should always check references.

n Banker — Your banker can advise you on long-term and short-term plans for growing and preserving your wealth. A banker also can provide advice on financing alternatives. Taking time to develop a relationship with your banker can provide a number of benefits, including helping you create a customized plan to help you meet your financial goals and your business goals if you own your own business.

During challenging economic times, your banker is a valuable resource to help you learn about new financial tools that may benefit your finances. Your banker can keep you up to date on current interest rates, loan options, etc., and is a good resource for referrals to other professionals on your financial team.

n Attorney — An attorney specializing in estate planning and who can help with the development of a will and a trust is indispensable. An attorney can also draft agreements for personal and business affairs. Just like your CPA, your attorney needs to stay in contact and work with your other team members.

n Financial Adviser/Retirement Adviser — This person can advise regarding stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investments and should be objective, very knowledgeable and present you with options. A financial adviser, as with all of the professionals on your team, should review your life goals to help decide which investments make sense for you.

An experienced financial team includes these professionals whose knowledge and skills complement each other. While you trust and value their opinions, you are the ultimate decision maker.

Your team should understand and share your vision and goals.  Knowing you have a good team in place can help you weather the choppy financial seas of today and hopefully provide smooth sailing for tomorrow.

The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about building a financial team and is not considered financial or tax advice from Union Bank. Please consult your financial or tax advisor.

Janice France-Pettit is a senior vice president and regional manager for Union Bank, overseeing the Simi Valley, San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley regions. Her column reflects her own opinion and not necessarily that of The Signal.


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