A retirement financial advisor can help you get your financial life in order as you prepare for retirement and during your golden years, helping you to secure resources to live your best life. This advisor specializes in areas that are vital as you prepare for your after-work life.

Here’s what a retirement financial advisor is and how they can help you prepare for retirement.

What is a retirement financial advisor?

A retirement financial advisor is a specific type of advisor focused on issues and topics that are most relevant for clients looking to plan their retirement. While other types of advisors may focus on broader or narrower financial topics, a retirement advisor hones in on those most relevant for an audience looking to plan their finances leading up to and during retirement.

A retirement financial advisor may include many different types of professionals, including certified financial planners, wealth managers and financial advisors more broadly. But the unifying theme among them all is that they focus on retirement issues.

What does a retirement financial advisor do?

A retirement financial advisor focuses on the financial needs that are key to retirees and would-be retirees, including:

  • Financial planning: Financial planning could involve building up enough assets before retirement and then developing a budgeting plan during retirement, among other tasks.
  • Social Security: One of the biggest decisions for retirees is when to take Social Security, and you could make tens of thousands more if you make the right decision.
  • Estate planning: Estate planning involves deciding how your assets will be distributed and safeguarded for your spouse and the next generation.
  • Investment management: An advisor can help find the best investments, given your time horizon and other needs, helping reduce the risk that you run out of income.
  • Managing retirement accounts: A 401(k) and IRA have many benefits and twists, and a good financial advisor can help you get the most out of them while minimizing taxes.
  • Long-term care planning: An advisor knows the benefits and drawbacks of establishing long-term healthcare plans and what you need to watch out for.
  • Tax planning: Advisors can help you maximize your after-tax income by reducing your tax liabilities across retirement accounts and estate plans.

A retirement financial advisor may have even more specialized expertise. For example, if you run your own business, the advisor may be able to help you minimize taxes on a sale or transfer of the assets. So it’s vital that you find an advisor who fits your specific needs.

Bankrate’s financial advisor matching tool can help you find a financial advisor in your area.

How is a retirement financial advisor useful to you?

The biggest advantage of using a retirement financial advisor is that you have an expert’s insight. It’s the only time you’ll be going through retirement planning, but you can work with a pro who’s seen it all (almost) and knows the benefits and drawbacks of key retirement strategies.

A good advisor will be able to leverage their experience and deep knowledge to help you make smart retirement decisions and avoid the dumb ones, potentially saving you a bundle of money. Other advantages of working with a retirement financial advisor include:

  • Social Security forms the basis for many retirees’ income, but it’s a complex system to navigate with many different options. An experienced advisor can show you the best paths to get the most money from the program. It’s no exaggeration to say that you could easily make tens of thousands more over your retirement.
  • Outliving your income is one of the biggest dangers in retirement, and a smart financial advisor can help you set up your investments to avoid this danger, both by not being too conservative nor too aggressive in how you grow and spend your money.
  • A financial advisor can help you withdraw money from retirement plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs in the most advantageous ways, helping you minimize taxes.
  • The legal issues surrounding tax and estate planning such as for wills and trusts can be complex, and an experienced advisor can help you navigate them and avoid expensive mistakes that could seriously affect your income and assets.
  • A good financial advisor can also help you stay motivated about your financial plan, keeping you on the path that leads to a financially secure retirement.

In short, a good retirement financial advisor can save you a ton of money and help you live the kind of retirement that you want to live – and do so with less worry about the future. But you’ll want to find an advisor who works in your best interest. Here are the top tips to find one.

Bottom line

A retirement financial advisor can help you line up a secure retirement, helping to eliminate the issues that many less-prepared people may run into. While it may cost you money upfront, you could wind up with much more money in the long run, making retirement much more enjoyable.