When you meet with your financial advisor or accountant between now and March 31st for your annual financial review, you should bring along your mortgage statement.
Annual Financial Review
What’s that you say? You don’t do an annual review? It’s time you change that. Even if you think you are on track to achieve your goals, an annual financial review helps you confirm that you’re on track, make course corrections if there is any doubt, or change strategy if there is a change in plans.
Read more: Should you hire a financial advisor?
Even so, most folks skip something very important when they meet with their financial advisor by not integrating their debt into their financial planning, especially large debt. Your mortgage is almost without exception the largest debt you’ll ever have, the largest monthly cash outflow in your life, and the single greatest barrier to retiring when you want and in the manner you desire. It may well have a greater impact on your ability to retire than anything else you do. And yet, few people discuss this with their financial advisor.
Why not? For the same reason they don’t discuss their financial plan with me.
Professionals Do One Thing Well
I am a mortgage advisor, and a good one. I understand how financial math works. When folks ask me a question pertaining to investments or financial planning, however, I refer them to a competent, ethical, experienced financial advisor. Why? It’s a different discipline, requiring a totally different set of skills and tools.
Knowing this, we (mortgage and financial advisors) generally “stay in our own lane,” and try not to over-reach our skill set. But consumers often think of this as a good reason to keep these areas separate too when they are seeking professional guidance. Don’t. That’s a mistake.
So, bring a copy of your mortgage statement to your annual financial review meeting with your advisor. What should you talk about?
Your Annual Financial Review is About Money – So Talk About It
- Are you paying too much in interest?
- Are you paying too little? (How does this align with your tax strategy?)
- Would refinancing save you money? (Use this calculator for a deep analysis)
- Can you lower your monthly payments?
- If you refi to a lower payment, can you use the monthly savings to increase your retirement funds?
- Should you consolidate other, more expensive debt?
- Pull money out for renovations?
- And if you can, should you?
- Can you pay off your mortgage faster? Should you?
- Definitely discuss any plans you have that might represent a change in your circumstances in the foreseeable future. Thinking of having a child? Starting a business? Get your financing in line before you make changes that will affect your ability to qualify.
- If you own investment property, how does your debt portfolio stack up? Are you set up to weather a downturn in the economy?
We Stick to Our Discipline But We Can Collaborate
I am an expert in mortgage matters. Your financial advisor is an expert in financial planning and investments. While neither of us should drift into the other’s lane (because we’re not experts there) we absolutely should collaborate with each other and coordinate our advice to you to optimize your result and get you to your end goal sooner.
If you don’t have a trusted financial advisor, please let me know and I’ll refer you to two or three. If you do have a financial advisor, bring your mortgage statement to them for your annual financial review, and introduce us. Working together, we can help you produce better results for you and your family.
Casey Fleming, NMLS 344375
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