Read any retirement planning book these days and one piece of advice will stand out – start saving early! Well, this is all well and good, but, the truth is that many of us are already in the final years before retirement.

The decisions that we made in our 20s and 30s are set in stone. Now, we want to know what we can do to make the most of our money in the years that we have left!

Fortunately, we don’t have to be alone as we go through this process. With the right professional advice (hopefully from a Fiduciary Financial Advisor), we can still make a big impact on the quality of life that we have in retirement, even if we are already in our 50s or 60s.

So, to dig into this issue, I recently interviewed Pam Krueger of Wealthramp, a website that helps people to find personally vetted, independent Fiduciary Advisors. If anyone knows how to get the most from your relationship with your Financial Advisor, it’s Pam. So, I hope that you find the conversation useful (and profitable!)

Here are the topics that Pam said we should consider discussing with a Financial Planner in the years leading up to retirement. Of course, none of the information in this article is intended to be financial advice. But, I hope that it gives you plenty to discuss with a financial professional.

First Things First… Talk to the Right Person

Before we even got into the topic of what to discuss with a Financial Planner, Pam reminded us that not all financial professionals are created equal. For example, Pam points out that fiduciaries have a different set of rules that they must apply when it comes to helping you to manage your money.

As she said, “The fiduciary [has] a much higher standard; legally, they are on the line for their advice. They have to put your best interests ahead of their own.”

When I talk with the women in my community, they are amazed when they learn that many financial professionals have a much lower legal standard that they have to follow – basically, they just need to recommend financial options that are “appropriate” for your situation. This means that they could still have conflicts of interest and could legally put their own interests above yours!

If you are looking for a Fiduciary Advisor, I highly recommend checking out Pam’s website, Wealthramp.

What Are Your Life Goals?

As we dove into the topics that you should raise with your Financial Planner in the years leading up to retirement, Pam started by talking about the relationship between life goals and financial goals. She pointed out that, while your financial goals may be narrow in scope, your life goals are much broader.

As a result, she said that most people should start by making sure that their financial planner really understands their situation – where they live, what their family life looks like, what your priorities are, etc.

As she said, “When you go to a really good Financial Planner, one of the best things you can do is to collaborate on your life. Because a Fiduciary Advisor is not there to sell you products, [the conversation] should be all about you! Then, you can start to look for patterns and habits that you can change.”

Would You Please Audit My Investments? Am I Paying Too Many Fees?

For most of us – even the fortunate few among us who saved a significant amount for retirement – our investments are a bit of an accidental mess. Maybe we had a small pension plan at one company… and a 401K (probably filled with expensive, actively-managed mutual funds) at another… and a few CDs that we stuck some money in… and that jar under the bed. Regardless of where our money is stashed away, chances are we haven’t looked at the details in a long time.

One of the top requests that Pam says we should all make of a Financial Planner is to audit our investments. This way, they can look at whether we are sufficiently diversified, whether we are paying too many fees and whether we could benefit from a different strategy.

This is not the time to be shy. None of us like opening our financial lives up to another person. Doing so means that we need to face the consequences of our decisions. But, this is the only way to reset our financial lives in the years leading up to retirement.

Do I Have the Right Insurance?

Most of us don’t think about insurance as being a part of our retirement plan, but, according to Pam, this vehicle is so important.

A Fiduciary Advisor can give you objective advice because, quite frankly, they don’t have anything to sell! This means that they can help you to understand whether you are overpaying and, if so, by how much.

As Pam said, “They are in the unique position of being able to evaluate, in an unbiased way, your insurance situation.” This should include life insurance, homeowners’ insurance medical insurance and any other insurance plans that you have.

Do I Need Long-Term Care? How Will I Pay for it?

For most of our lives, we worry about not living too long enough. Then, as we reach our 60s, we begin, ever so slowly, to start to worry about living too long!

According to Pam, a good Financial Planner can help you to think about the financial tools that you need to have in place to prepare for the possibility that you will need long-term care in the future.

As she said, “There is [long-term care] insurance that you can buy when you are getting ready to retire… but, you need to make sure that you get the right policy.”

This interview with Pam Krueger was wide-ranging and I have only been able to scratch the surface of the great advice that she gave us. I highly encourage you to watch today’s video to get even more details about the questions that you should ask a Financial Planner in the years leading up to retirement.

What questions did you raise with a Financial Planner in the years leading up to retirement? What did you think of the 4 questions that Pam recommended we each ask? Let’s have a conversation!