Nov 212012

With the wealth of online financial tools out there, it’s becoming easier for consumers to manage their own business interests. Accounting, investing, and tax filing software can be handy when it comes time to work out a budget or file your taxes. However, there are certain situations in which it may be beneficial to speak to a financial advisor.

Investment Management

If you’ve never invested before, putting your money in the hands of a professional is usually the best course of action. Yet many small-time investors with a bit of experience can manage their own portfolios up to a certain point. If you are starting to feel overwhelmed by your assets or are second-guessing your decision, these are good signs that you may be in need of some financial assistance. Receiving an inheritance, planning for retirement, or gaining control over a new series of accounts are all reasons to consider professional money management.

Time is another factor to consider. If you have the time to research your investment option thoroughly and have some background in this field, you may feel comfortable handling your own accounts. Yet many people don’t have the time to stay on top of their portfolio. In these cases, using a professional advisor from a firm like Lombard Odier can make sense, as they will be able to monitor and evaluate your portfolio as needed.

Tax Assistance

Most individuals with uncomplicated finances will be able to file their own taxes each year. However, if you are a small business owner, self-employed, or have a variety of assets, it’s worth hiring a tax professional to help out with your taxes. They may be able to help you with deductions that you wouldn’t otherwise know about, and will organize your finances so that you stand less of a chance of getting audited. Small business owners can benefit from filing quarterly tax estimates throughout the year, to avoid missing any payments or getting stuck with a huge bill at the end of every tax year.

Small business owners or self-employed individuals aren’t the only ones who will want to hire an accountant or tax planning expert. Those with large volumes of assets in multiple locations will need to find ways to avoid paying steep penalties. A little bit of professional knowledge can go a long way in these cases.

Estate Planning

Anyone with significant assets or minor children should think about hiring a financial professional to draw up estate planning documents. These could include a will as well as a family trust. The major advantage of choosing to use a financial professional for this purpose is that they will be able to protect you from gift, inheritance, and estate taxes which can leave your heirs with a much lower sum than what you intended to give them. Hiring a professional estate planner from Lombard Odier will help take the guesswork out of drawing up wills and trusts, so that your minor children and assets are both well looked after. However, if you don’t have any children and minimal assets, you can probably get by with a basic will. There are forms which can be downloaded online and filled out with some basic legal research.

Consumers are now in a better position than ever before to conduct their own financial research. Yet when it comes to managing more complicated financial assets, a professional opinion can be worth the cost.

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