5 Times in Life You Need a Financial Advisor

There are certain key inflection points in life at which the guidance and support of a wealth advisor are particularly valuable.

Whether occasions for joy, grief or nervous anticipation, major life turning points and events can have an outsized impact on our financial lives.

From the birth of a child to the death of a spouse, navigating such pivotal moments may be made easier when undertaken with the support, clarity and insight that an experienced professional wealth advisor can provide, says Rachel Hughes, Wealth Advisor at Regions Private Wealth Management. “It’s really important that we meet our clients where they are, in whatever emotional stage they’re in.”

Here are five key times when the advice and steady hand of a wealth advisor might help you achieve your goals.

  1. When You’re Getting Married

    For many couples, talking about retirement and shared financial goals comes long after I do. But that can be a lost opportunity, because starting your formalized life together is a perfect time to align on common goals and to talk about how you’ll get there. It may not be easy: “Because each spouse enters the relationship with their own financial history, sometimes getting on the same page requires asking hard questions and getting uncomfortable,” says Hughes.

    As a neutral third party, a wealth advisor can help couples navigate otherwise difficult terrain, for example, by getting into the weeds of their expenses and running scenarios that demonstrate the impact of different budgets. This helps couples start their life together with a shared understanding of their finances, seeing whether both spouses need to work in order to maintain the income they need, and visualizing the potential trade-offs required to reach big shared goals. A couple who is saving for a second home, for example, might have to curb their individual retail spending. “It’s all about what makes you and your spouse comfortable,” says Hughes. “As long as couples can get on the same page about values and goals, we can navigate how we get there.”

  2. Buying a Home

    Your house is likely to be one of the largest—if not the largest—purchases you’ll make. The sums of money involved, whether for the down payment or the mortgage or the monthly outlay, represent significant portions of most people’s budgets and financial plans. Balancing the capital you’re willing to commit (the down payment) against the monthly carrying costs is the central question. “When you’re buying a home, the most important thing is to know your budget,” says Hughes. A wealth advisor can help you make the financial—and aspirational—calculations you’ll need, including factoring in a down payment, monthly costs, property taxes, any additional costs such as homeowner’s association fees, and maintenance and renovations. And with rising interest rates and housing in flux, an informed financial partner who can help you navigate a complex market is a real benefit.

    An advisor may also be able to help you get preapproved for a mortgage and connect you with a reliable mortgage broker. This is particularly helpful for people with variable income, such as business owners, consultants and corporate executives, who typically have complicated balance sheets and limited time.

  3. The Birth of a Child

    A new baby brings joy and change in equal measure. Many growing families know they need to reprioritize financial goals, but there’s an emotional component to adding a new family member, too, says Hughes. “An advisor can help families assess finances and face the facts. What’s your life like today; what are your incomes, debts, assets, real estate and insurance like; and where do you want to go?”

    Hughes adds that an advisor can help you get more granular in your budgeting process and assist you in creating a financial roadmap that covers both line-item details and long-term goals. In the short run, you may need to shift some discretionary expenses like dining out and entertainment to cover childcare costs. “The increase in expenses once you have a little human in your household will shock you,” says Hughes.

    Over the long run, long-term education costs or opening a 529 college savings plan may be part of your budget. A wealth advisor can work alongside a trusted attorney to ensure the family’s estate is in order and wishes met. Important considerations include wills, medical directives, life insurance needs and guardianship concerns should anything happen to you.

    And if the new baby in your family means you’re now a grandparent, you may want to talk to your advisor to make changes in your estate plan or other steps you might want to take related to your grandchild’s financial security.

  4. Death

    After a devastating loss, even small tasks may feel insurmountable. Yet urgent financial questions arise immediately after someone close to you has died. Luckily, whether it’s to assist with immediate chores such as paying monthly bills or reviewing insurance policies and potentially filing for a benefit, or long-term tasks like settling an estate, an advisor can help navigate the difficult period following the death of a loved one or spouse.

    Hughes cites the example of a widow she worked with whose spouse had made all the financial decisions and managed all their joint passwords. After his death, in addition to dealing with her grief, funeral arrangements and all the many demands on her decision-making bandwidth, she felt overwhelmed by their finances. “Our team was able to sit down with her to review the life plan the couple had in place, which helped ground her,” Hughes says. “Then we helped her get in front of an attorney to work through the probate process and to close out the estate. We were able to help her feel at peace that her lifestyle could be maintained.”

  5. Divorce

    Just as all marriages are different, no two divorces are alike. But one thing they all have in common is that they represent a significant financial inflection point for both parties. At the same time, the process can be an “emotional roller coaster” for both parties, says Hughes. A wealth advisor can be a trusted third party who consults with an attorney and assesses key financial data to offer an objective perspective to help you think through what might constitute a fair division of assets, Hughes explains. For example, would you be better off taking a portion of a portfolio of stocks or taking the home? An advisor can help you parse these tough questions.

    As you separate your finances from those of your ex, an advisor can also help you recalibrate your finances by assessing your income, expenses, assets and liabilities. Then you’ll be ready to establish a day-to-day budget and navigate your future, while avoiding steps that could be seen as hiding assets. “There are so many nuances when you’re talking about high-net-worth individuals getting divorced,” adds Hughes. “Having an advisor is game-changing.”

There’s No Wrong Time to Chat

Remember that big events in life are just one set of moments when you might want to check in with your advisor. There are other, smaller changes in your life that might seem like the perfect time to start a conversation. Reach out whenever you need to talk or have a question.

Talk to Your Regions Wealth Advisor About:

  1. The events on your calendar this year that might warrant an extra conversation.
  2. How your life stage should be influencing your overall financial plan and investing strategy.

Interested in talking with an advisor but don’t have one?

Find a contact in your area.


This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and irs.gov for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.