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15 Times When You Need a Financial Professional

A financial professional can help you make objective, informed decisions in a variety of financial circumstances.

The Alaska USA Financial Planning & Investment Services program is offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc.*, a broker/dealer focused on serving credit union members. CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. is an affiliate of CUNA Mutual Group. For more information about CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc., please visit


It’s our hope that at some point in your life, you’ll discover how partnering with a financial professional to help you manage your money was one of the smartest investments you ever made.

A financial professional is someone who helps you work towards growing your money—using investments, retirement planning, strategic decision making, and overall wealth management. They can help you reach your goals by learning what’s important to you, then designing a plan that aligns with your needs, risk tolerance, and timeline. Once your plan is put into action, they will continue to check in regularly to ensure that you stay on track.

Many people make the mistake of thinking they can manage their money on their own, but it takes a lot of time, effort, and knowledge of the financial industry to make sure your money is working at its fullest potential.

Whether it’s delaying good decisions or prolonging bad ones, a financial professional can help you avoid a variety of common financial pitfalls.

Most important, a financial professional helps you avoid emotional decision-making. With their objective guidance, you can rely on data to make informed decisions about your financial future.

15 Times When You Need a Financial Professional

While anyone can benefit, a financial professional will help the most when you are facing changes in your life, when you need help making important financial decisions, or when you are working toward a specific financial goal.

Here are some examples of financial matters Alaska USA Financial Planning and Investment Services has helped their clients with:

  1. Planning for your retirement
  2. Deciding whether to consolidate 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement accounts—including 401(k) rollovers
  3. Choosing when to start taking Social Security
  4. Deciding whether to take an early retirement buyout package or a pension
  5. Exercising stock options
  6. Getting married or divorced
  7. Having a baby or adopting a child
  8. Saving for your child's college education
  9. Deciding what to do with the proceeds after selling a home or business
  10. Changing jobs or careers
  11. Developing a plan to pass investment or retirement assets on to heirs
  12. Managing money such as an inheritance or a financial windfall after a death in the family
  13. Deciding whether to pay off your mortgage
  14. Helping your parents manage their finances as they get older
  15. Getting a second opinion or advice on a specific money matter


Regardless of whether you’re just starting out or getting ready to retire, a financial professional can help you make objective, informed decisions.

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Schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with an Alaska USA Financial Planning and Investment Services Professional. Let's get started!

How a Financial Professional Can Help

The beauty of working with a financial professional is that you have lots of options.

Here are examples of ways a financial professional can help you:

  • Develop a plan to meet your goals, such as planning a sustainable retirement, protecting your assets with insurance strategies, mitigating the effect of taxes, and more. Planning helps you avoid over-reacting to market swings or worse, being so overwhelmed you do nothing.
  • Manage risk by consolidating investment accounts to give you better control and a clearer picture of your asset allocation.
  • Track and modify your investments and diversify your portfolio to help manage volatility, ensuring that your money is set up to fit both your goals and your timeframe.
  • Evaluate options, look at ‘what if’ scenarios, and review possible investment performance results.

Common Misconceptions About Financial Professionals

You probably have questions about forming a relationship with a financial professional. Here are some of the most common misunderstandings people have.


Most people don't need a financial professional.

While you certainly could manage your money yourself, the world of finances is complicated, and getting more so every day. A financial professional can help you protect your money while putting it to work for you.

Financial professionals are only for wealthy people.

While some financial professionals specialize in clients with high net worth, many more are focused on people with everyday needs—planning for retirement, saving for college, or working towards other goals. When you interview financial professionals, be sure to look for one who fits your needs, not the other way around.

Financial professionals are all the same.

There are many types of financial professionals. Some specialize in specific products like insurance, while others focus on broader issues such as retirement planning. Wealth managers consider tax and estate planning, charitable giving, insurance, and more. Take time to choose a financial professional that is best suited to your goals.

Financial professionals are only needed for developing financial plans.

While a strategic plan provides a good roadmap for decision-making, you can consult a financial professional to help you with specific decisions, such as a 401(k) rollover or to invest an inheritance.

A financial professional won’t act in my best interest.

Laws require that a financial professional tell you about any potential conflicts of interest they have with their recommendations. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) requires that a broker act in the best interest of their client. Financial professionals must also disclose if and how they get compensated when they make an investment recommendation.

Financial professionals are too expensive.

Certainly, financial professionals get paid for the service they provide, but the value they add often more than pays for the cost. For example, the implementation of the SECURE Act, which went into effect in 2020, is having a big impact on retirement and estate planning. While you may not know how those changes will impact you, a financial professional does and can walk you through your options.

How Does a Financial Professional Make Money?

Everyone—those looking for a financial professional as well as those who already have one—should understand how a financial professional is compensated.

While specifics vary, there are generally two types of fee structures:

  • Fee-only: These financial professionals don’t sell products or accept commissions. Fees can be charged several ways. The most common is as a percentage of the assets managed by the financial professional, which means that as your assets grow, your financial professional is paid more. A fee-only financial professional can also charge a fixed annual retainer, or even an hourly rate.
  • Fee-based: This blends the fee-only arrangement with the ability for the financial professional to receive a commission on the products (funds, insurance, etc.) that you purchase through them. This commission is often, but not always, paid by the company offering the products.

Don’t be afraid to ask how your financial professional is compensated and consider how the fees you pay will be offset by the benefit your financial professional provides.

Is a Financial Professional Worth It?

While it depends on your situation, most people who use a financial professional say the value they receive is worth it, for several reasons:

  • Developing a plan with a financial professional gives you peace of mind with a roadmap to your financial future.
  • Financial professionals help you stay on track, manage your asset allocation, mitigate your tax liability, and make sure your retirement is sustainable.
  • Money management can be time-consuming, complicated, and expensive. Working with a trained financial professional can help you avoid costly mistakes.

Ready for Next Steps?

If you already have a financial professional, it’s a good time to check in. Has anything changed with your financial situation? Have your goals changed? Do you have questions about how new tax laws will affect you? Take full advantage of the value they provide.

If you’ve decided you need a financial professional, now comes the job of choosing someone who fits with your goals. Take time to interview; look for someone who asks questions and listens closely, someone well-suited to managing the amount of money you have. Ask friends and relatives for referrals, but make sure you choose someone that meets your goals, not others.

Hiring a financial professional has a cost, but it may be the best investment you ever make. Schedule a complimentary consultation with an Alaska USA Financial Planning and Investment Services professional today.


Representatives are registered, securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor, D/B/A Alaska USA Financial Planning & Investment Services, which is not an affiliate of the credit union. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution. CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. is a registered broker/dealer in all fifty States of the United States of America. #FR-3459864.1-0221-0323 Exp. 3/19/2023

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