If you're a fan of the Netflix series "Ozark," you know that financial advisors are pretty smart. Sometimes, in the case of Marty Byrd, too smart. But mostly just smart.
So when should you -- yeah, you -- should start adulting and enlist a financial advisor to help map out a future? Do you know those signs? Kinda? Sorta? Nuh-uh?
No worries. We've got you covered. Here are six big, bright signs that you and your finances have moved to a space where pro tips on investing. planning and whatnot make sense. Not to mention cents.
1. You've turned 22.
Okay, maaaybe 25. And, yes, we're serious. Julie Virta, a senior financial advisor with Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, says she's heard from high-schoolers who want to start Roth IRAs with their first paychecks.
By the time you've hit the post-college years, Virta says, "you should definitely be thinking about your financial future. If you start at 30, you've missed out on many years."
Now, we get that you may be hesitant: A 2015 survey showed the vast majority of millennials are spooked by financial advisors. But there's nothing scary about this very real fact: Americans who use financial advisors save at a higher rate, and with more confidence, than those who don't.
2. You've gotten a job -- like, a real one.
Congrats. You've traded the internship for a paid staff gig. You're on your way professionally -- and financially. That’s when you should start thinking about your financial future, Virta says. Where do you see your new, improved self in two years? Ten years? More importantly, where do you want to be? A financial advisor can you help you set goals, both short-term and long-term, and then hit them.
3. You've moved to Denver.
Maybe that new job took you to a new city. If you didn't take the financial-advisor hint before, maybe the new digs will wake you up: It's time decisions got made, dude. Are you going to rent? Would it be smarter to buy? Would it be impossible, price-tag-wise, to buy in your new market? What investments could you make, what steps could you take, to turn the impossible into a reality? If only there were professionals (or robo-advisors) who could point you and your money in the right direction ... Oh, wait.
4. You've inherited -- or saved up -- a cool $50,000.
Virta’s consulted with folks with smaller bankrolls, but $50,000 is the benchmark minimum investment for Vanguard. There's no real magic number, though. E*Trade, for instance, can get you started in a managed portfolio for $25,000. Others will want to see six figures -- or more. Regardless, you can always scope out what it means to invest in the bond market, or determine how much cash you should have in emergency reserve. "Those are all questions I think everybody should be asking themselves and seeking answers to," Virta says.
5. You're getting hitched.
Did you know way too many people think talking about money with a fiancé is a bad idea? Something that could be "awkward," start a fight or even end the engagement? Don't be like too many people. Talk credit cards and credit debt, talk big dreams and smaller goals. In the runup to the wedding, advisors say you should see money-planning professional, just as you would a florist, baker and dressmaker.
6. You've having a baby.
As a life- and game-changer, this milestone is almost unsurpassed. Abacus Wealth Partners published a financial checklist for prospective parents that runs only slightly shorter than an actual pregnancy. Suggested do's include: buy life insurance, establish a 529 savings plan for college, and tear up your pre-baby household budget. No, it doesn't specifically say, "Get a financial advisor -- stat," but just remember your future offspring's not going to lift one baby finger to help you with all the planning, paperwork and budgeting that comes with the parenting gig.