[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You’ve worked for decades and have begun to accumulate a pretty sizable nest egg. This didn’t happen overnight- early on, you made a habit of spending less than you earn and have invested the difference. Now as you approach retirement, you may wonder how you can maximize this nest egg, to give yourself the best chance of having enough money to last throughout retirement.

This is where many people turn to help- after all, you’ve worked enough; it’s time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. There are many Kansas City investment firms that can assist with retirement planning. How do you choose the right one?

The investment firm should put your interests first.

Investors should look for Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) as this type of financial planner is held to a higher standard of conduct and must act in your best interest. This is not the case for representatives that work for a broker-dealer firm. They should also sit on the same side of the table as you when it comes to compensation. There are different ways for a financial advisor to charge you. Some financial advisors use an asset based charge, an hourly fee, or commissions. Investment firms that charge commissions make money by selling you products and are not held to a fiduciary standard.

Financial planning should be central to the service offering.

If a financial advisor jumps right into the investment products they can sell you, you might want to look elsewhere. Before determining what investments might be suitable for you, the advisor should first get to know you- what are your goals, expectations and concerns? From there, a plan can be created to form as your individual blueprint. We customize each plan according to who you are and your unique situation. Our financial planners will help create a plan that will guide you through every financial decision in your life – the easy ones and the hard ones. However, we don’t just give you a plan without the help to implement it. We are with you every step of the way, working together with you to build a blueprint for your financial future – one that will house your family, dreams, and financial stability.

Outperforming the market should not be a part of their value proposition.

Investing should be based on individual goals, needs and circumstances, not some arbitrary benchmark. An advisor focused on this effort may succeed in the short term, but unlikely to consistently deliver on this value.

The investment firm should help you avoid common investing mistakes.

Left on their own, many investors try to time the market or let emotions take over when making important investment decisions. Most people have heard to make money investing, you have to “buy low and sell high”; however investors often do the opposite because of fear or greed. The advisor should be a sounding board for these types of rash decisions and should educate their clients accordingly to get them to stick with their plan. According to ongoing research from Vanguard and other academic studies, firms that coach client behavior can add 1% to 2% in net return.

The investment firm should have a focus on fees and taxes.

They should help you figure out the best way to structure your income in retirement to minimize the impact of taxes. Low-cost funds have historically outperformed high cost funds due to the higher expenses to hurdle.

They offer fully diversified investment portfolios.

The advisor should provide their clients a globally-diversified portfolio, using a mix of stocks and bonds from thousands of companies; those located here in the U.S. and elsewhere across the world. Market returns are not consistently predictable, so this approach offers the ability to participate in gains wherever and whenever they occur and also reduces risk compared to more concentrated strategies.

Their investment approach is long-term focused and disciplined.

The range of outcomes for investment returns in the short term is pretty wide. Over the next six months, a 15% decline or 23% gain, and anything in between, would not be unusual. But once you get to longer periods of time- 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, etc., the ranges of outcomes become smaller. The investment firm should equip you with a plan that can withstand the expected downturns along the way. The investment approach should not attempt to time the market and should look for opportunities to rebalance the portfolio to systematically buy things that have fallen in value and sell investments that have grown too large relative to their targets.

These are just a few things to evaluate when choosing the right investment firm for you. Overall, they should be someone you turn to for every financial event and decision.

You should trust the advisor to always act in your best interest and give you honest feedback to keep your plan on track.