The Best Financial-Planning Options for Near-Retirees

The closer you get to retirement the more likely you are to need all the help you can get.

To help you decide what kind of financial advice is best for you, see if your situation is similar to this hypothetical client:

Kiplinger's Guideto the Financial Pro Marketplace

The Garcias are a 65-year-old couple who plan to retire in a year. They have more than $1 million in 401(k)s and taxable and retirement accounts. Goals include investing their savings, which will supplement pensions and Social Security, so they will stay ahead of inflation without running out of money. They'd also like to pay off the remaining $75,000 balance on their mortgage.

With more than $1 million in assets, this couple can afford to pay for personal advice, and they may need it. They're facing a host of complex decisions, and they don't have time to recover from financial mistakes before they retire.

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Among the issues an adviser can address: how to invest their nest egg so it will stay ahead of inflation without exposing them to too much risk; when to file for Social Security; and the most cost-effective way to pay for health care, including long-term care.

A robo adviser probably won't provide everything the Garcias need because managing their investments is just one of the many tasks they face going forward. They'll want to work with a planner who has expertise in a wide range of areas, from estate planning to minimizing taxes on their retirement income.

"Comprehensive financial advice is so critical; it's more important than investment advice," says Ed Gjertsen, vice president of Mack Investment Securities and former president of the Financial Planning Association. "If I don't look at whether you have a will and power of attorney and something happens to you, whatever we've made in the markets could be obliterated."

Lisa Gerstner
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Lisa has spent more than15 years with Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and heads up the magazine’s annual rankings of the best banks, best rewards credit cards, and financial-services firms with the best customer service. She reports on a variety of other topics, too, from retirement to health care to money concerns for millennials. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.