Money PuzzleFinancial professionals can be as specialized as doctors. One might be best at helping you manage investments, while another is the guy you absolutely have to talk to before filing your taxes. Sorting through financial professionals can be a little complicated though — do you really need one of each kind of professional to help make sure that all your paperwork is in order and your money is taken care of? It seems like that’s just an opportunity to pay out even more of your money in bills. Instead, there’s really only about five financial professionals you really need to know.

1. Tax Preparer

The same lady has handled my tax returns since I got my first job in high school. Every year, she finds me deductions that keep my tax bill under control — and that I sincerely doubt that I could have found on my own. Having a tax preparer, especially one who knows my finances inside and out, has saved me plenty of money under the years. She’s probably kept me out of trouble with the IRS, as well.

2. Certified Financial Planner

You don’t want just any financial planner. Most specialize in certain areas, like working with seniors. You want a financial planner who has the skills to help you with your specific financial goals. When you start looking, ask plenty of questions and request references. Once you find the right planner, though, you can let them handle the details of your investments. You should keep yourself informed about it, but having professional help will make the whole process smoother.

3. Insurance Agent

Not everyone thinks of an insurance agent as a financial professional, but consider how much insurance affects your finances: good policies to can keep a small problem from wiping you out. If you can find an insurance agent that can handle all your policies, that’s great. More and more, though, you’ll wind up working with a large company to handle your insurance needs.

4. Accountant

Depending on how you earn your money, you may not need an accountant. If you have a small business, rent out real estate or generate money from sources other than employment, you’re likely to need the help of an accountant to keep matters straight. A good accountant can help you grow your business as well as handle complex details like financial audits.

5. Lawyer

While lawyers aren’t strictly financial professionals, it’s just good sense to have a lawyer who can handle your financial matters if need be. Throughout your life, you’ll have to deal with all sorts of legal issues that have an affect on your finances, and having a lawyer’s phone number in your address book — especially one already familiar with your financial situation — can be extremely useful. Maybe there’s an issue with the house you bought, or maybe you want to set up a trust for your children: either way, get the name of a lawyer that can handle your financial matters.

6. Real Estate Agent

You may not be thinking about real estate every day, but that fact actually makes it more important to have the number for a good real estate agent. Buying and selling houses are complicated matters and a professional can cut through the red tape. You can buy and sell real estate without help, of course, but it will take longer and require more effort. And if you’re considering any sort of investment property, matters get even more complicated.

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