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Making financial plans for retirement is something that should be done sooner than later. There was a time when a pension plan and Social Security provided the financial support a retiree needed. With fewer companies offering pension plans, other options are necessary. So is the need for diversification.

While the internet can provide access to thousands of pages of advice and investment strategies, when it comes to a financial plans for retirement, a financial adviser is best to help navigate a changing financial marketplace.

“Warren Buffett is famous for saying, ‘Only when the tide goes out, do you discover who’s been swimming naked,” said Bradley R. Kastan the senior vice president, investments and managing director at Raymond James & Associates, Inc. in Bexley.

“We are still in a secular bull market that began after the financial market collapse of 2008,” Kastan continued. “We are probably closer to the end of this bull market than the beginning. A good financial adviser often understands his or her clients true risk tolerance and is giving them advice that will help serve them well when the tide eventually rolls out.”

Mark S. Coffey, a certified financial planner with Summit Financial Strategies, Inc. in Columbus, said, “The advice I offer clients has not changed, but I did spend more time than before reviewing clients healthcare directives to be certain they had up to date documents and their intentions had not changed. COVID caused many clients to reexamine their mortality and life goals.

“Roughly 25% of my clients were already meeting me over Zoom because they either lived out of town or preferred Zoom meetings, but COVID forced us to only meet over Zoom for the past year-and-a-half. Since we were already fully digitized and working from the cloud, this was not a big change for us but we missed seeing our clients and colleagues in person.”

When meeting with a financial adviser, preparation can lead to success.

“The very first step in the financial planning process is to take an inventory of one’s assets and liabilities,” Coffey said. “The next step is to map out one’s goals – express them, quantify them and associate a date with each goal. Finally, set aside enough funds for emergencies and put the remaining funds to work in a portfolio designed around the criteria I mentioned earlier.”

Coffey said even with all of the resources available online, a personal hand is helpful.

“A financial adviser who is certified as a certified financial planner certificant is a good place to start when considering working with a professional,” he said. “There is an alphabet soup of certifications for financial advisers, but a CFP is a must for anyone holding themselves out as an adviser.”

One of the biggest myths when it comes to financial retirement planning is it’s only for the rich. Working with a financial adviser can help to see changes that could be made or where potential for growth is, regardless of the size of one’s savings.

A mistake many people make is thinking they can wait to put a plan in place.

“There have been changes made to the Ohio Statutory Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will over the years,” Coffey said. “Documents older than five years should be updated with the latest version which incorporate provisions for HIPAA and guardianships.”

Noell Wolfgram Evans is a freelance writer from Columbus.