I’m a 61-year-old flight attendant who wants to retire at 70. I’ll have a pension of $900 a month and I’ll be on Social Security, but I only have $150,000 in my 401(k). Should I get professional help?

This flight attendant seeks financial help from an advisor, but how do you choose the right one?

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Question: I think I need a financial advisor. I’m 61 and plan to retire at 70. I am a flight attendant and will receive a pension of just over $900 a month. I have a 401(k) with a balance of just over $150,000 and will receive Social Security when I retire. I’ve never had a financial planner and I hope it’s not too late to start one. My goal is to increase my 401(k) and just use my common sense with my spending. I am single with no children. Any advice or recommendations on who to contact or how to proceed would be appreciated. (Also looking for a new financial advisor? This tool can help you find an advisor who might meet your needs.)

Answer: We applaud you for hoping to increase your bottom line, and it’s not too late to find a financial planner to help you, should you decide to go this route. “You are in what I call the mad dash to retirement, in which people who may not have paid enough attention to saving and investing are starting to turn on the afterburners of savings,” says Jim Kinney, Certified Financial Planner at Financial Pathways.

At first glance, it looks like your needs are quite simple and straightforward. If you go with a planner, “I would recommend finding a paid financial planner, which means they only work for you and don’t sell you insurance or investment products,” Kinney says. And, say the pros, it also looks like you would benefit from an hourly or project-based advisor, who charges you a fixed or hourly fee to give you financial advice, rather than manage your investments for you. (Also looking for a new financial advisor? This tool can help you find an advisor who might meet your needs.)

“Some advisors just want to manage money. They won’t want to work with you if most of your savings are in your employer’s 401(k). But you can find advisors who don’t require you to invest through the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) or the Garrett Planning Network – just be sure to explain that you’re looking for retirement planning, not investment management,” says Kinney. . Fees can vary widely, but be aware that they are negotiable. Just point out that your life is simple and all you need is simple guidance and guidance. Here’s what you could pay for financial advice.

Do you have a problem with your financial advisor or do you want a new one? Email picks@marketwatch.com.

An advisor can take a comprehensive look at your income and expenses, risk tolerance, asset allocation and long-term goals – and from there, create a plan for you that will help you achieve your goals.

There are also several issues you should address, including when to start Social Security, since you can maximize benefits when you wait until age 70. “You should consider having a taxable investment or savings account in addition to your would allow access to cash at age 70 at the start of your pension and the ability to delay taking the required minimum 401(k) distributions ( k) up to age 72,” says Certified Financial Planner Cheryl Morhauser. In fact, delaying Social Security typically provides an 8% increase each year from age 62 to 70, says Certified Financial Planner Brian Fry of Safe Landing Financial.

You should also determine which investments are best suited to your risk tolerance profile to ensure you survive the market volatility we are currently seeing. “A financial planner can provide strategic Roth conversion advice on an annual basis, exposing taxable income to lower brackets now instead of higher brackets in the future, and they can manage exposure to higher brackets of income when drawing from an IRA, while minimizing the risk of exposure to Medicare excess premiums,” says Certified Financial Planner Jeff Stewart of Lucid Wealth Planning.

Additionally, a financial planner can assess the pros, cons, costs, and community of long-term care options; assess health insurance; provide ongoing training and support; and implementing a disciplined, emotionless, and repeatable rebalancing strategy that reduces the risk of behavioral errors, Stewart says. (Also looking for a new financial advisor? This tool can help you find an advisor who might meet your needs.)

You want to make sure your money lasts your lifetime, and you’ll want to work with an advisor to “run multiple what-if scenarios when making big decisions,” says DeeDee Baze, certified financial planner at Alphemita Financial Services.

And, of course, you can do it yourself. Think of books like I’ll Teach You How to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi; The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Mel Lindauer, Michael LeBoeuf and Taylor Larimore; and Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. Additionally, many free online courses are available, including Finance for Everyone, How to Save Money: Making Smart Financial Decisions (an archived course from the University of California, Berkeley), and Planning for a Secure Retirement from Purdue University. .

Do you have a problem with your financial advisor or do you want a new one? Email picks@marketwatch.com.

Questions edited for brevity and clarity.

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