As you move into and through your retirement years, you will come into contact with people who play many different roles who you will want to make part of your retirement team. These will be comprised primarily of people in the fields of real estate, accounting, investments, law, and others. Some will become a part of your team, some will just be sources of information, and some will be parties with whom you will be contracting or from whom you will be acquiring living accommodations or services.
Potential members of your retirement team include the following:
Accountant – A professional who assists with the measurement, disclosure, and/or providing assurance about financial information.
Buying Agent (real estate) – A real estate agent who assists buyers in finding, negotiating, and purchasing properties that meet the buyers’ needs.
Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) – A person who has been trained and certified through the National Association of Home Builders to meet the individual needs of seniors wishing to age in place.
Elder Law Attorney – An attorney who specializes in legal issues that affect older people. The major categories of elder law are: 1) estate planning and administration, including wills, trusts, and tax issues; 2) Medicaid, Medicare, disability and other long-term care issues; and 3) guardianship, conservatorship, and commitment matters, including fiduciary administration.
Estate Planner – A professional who helps you to anticipate and arrange for the management and disposal of your estate during your life – and at and after your death – while minimizing gift, estate, generation-skipping transfer, and income tax. Estate planners help you to plan for incapacity. They also help you to reduce or eliminate uncertainties concerning the administration of a probate, designate guardians for minor children, and name beneficiaries in incapacity. Ultimately, the goal of estate planning is determined by your specific goals, and may be as simple or complex as your needs dictate.
Financial Advisors – Financial advisors generally fall into one of three general categories:
- Investment Adviser Representatives – Employees of a Registered Investment Adviser, regulated by individual states or the SEC. These advisors must always act as fiduciaries in the best interests of their clients.
- Registered Representatives – Employees of a Broker-Dealer regulated by FINRA. These advisors are held to a suitability standard when making recommendations to clients (more on this later).
- Dual Registered – Employees of Hybrid firms that can altenate between being an Investment Adviser Representative or a Registered Representative as wanted or needed.
Only individuals that act as Investment Advisor Representatives all of the time are true fiduciaries that must always act in the best interest of their clients.
Financial Planner – A professional who prepares plans for clients that cover cash flow and financial risk management, as well as planning for insurance, tax, estate, business succession, and retirement needs.
Geriatric Care Manager – A person who can assess your basic living needs and assist you with managing your situation, including crisis management, in-home helper interviews, and placement in an assisted living facility or skilled nursing center.
Insurance Agent – A person who assists you with assessing your needs for medical, disability, life, liability, and other types of insurance and who will sell you insurance policies to protect against your risks.
Multigenerational-Housing Architect – A professional who plans, designs, and reviews the construction of multigenerational homes.
Organizing Expert – A person who assists you with organizing, simplifying and downsizing. They often provide hands-on help to clear extreme clutter for the comfort and safety of seniors preparing to age in place or move and downsize.
Real Estate Agent – An intermediary between sellers and buyers of real estate/real property. To be called a real estate agent, the person must be licensed as either a real estate sales professional, an associate broker, or a broker. A real estate agent owes a fiduciary duty to the party they service as a client.
Real Estate Attorney – An attorney who documents and reviews real estate transactions, including purchases, leases, inspections and appraisals.
Real Estate Broker – A person who has taken education beyond the agent level as required by state laws and has passed a brokers license exam. Brokers can work alone or they can hire agents to work for them. Brokers who work for other brokers are called associate brokers.
REALTOR® – A real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics.
Selling Agent (real estate) – A real estate agent who assists the sellers in marketing, staging, negotiating, and selling their properties.
Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) – A specially trained and certified REALTOR® or related professional who is experienced and knowledgeable in meeting the specific housing and equity needs of seniors. An SRES® will take a customized approach to fit your living situation into your overall life plan. They have an awareness of options and a network of solid, reliable referrals to help you in the process. They can offer you a variety of choices to help you reduce your out-of-pocket expense, gain cash, create or defer income streams, and either stay independent or obtain financial assistance.
Special Needs Professionals or Organizations – Various types of professionals or organizations that cater to the needs of older adults.