How Can Accountants Help Clients Prepare for Major Life Changes?

Financial implications might not be the first thing most people think about when it comes to making major life changes. However, as a future accountant, part of your job will be helping clients prepare for and manage the financial impact of these events. With many Americans delaying life changes like going to college, buying a home, getting married, having kids and retiring because of financial concerns, you can be sure that your future accounting clients will need your help planning for the financial changes that accompany their biggest life events.

Marriage or Divorce

Starting and ending a marriage might be opposites, but there are significant financial choices couples have to make when they either choose to get married or choose to get a divorce.

For couples who are about to tie the knot, there’s a lot to learn about each other’s finances and their combined finances, according to Accounting Today. There are budgets to set, for the wedding, the honeymoon, and daily life. It might be important to make changes to insurance coverage and beneficiary information, estate plans and tax withholdings.

When couples split up, they have to determine how to divide property and, often, how much that property is worth, Accounting Today reported. Each person may also have to establish new accounts and new budgets to manage their personal finances. Just as newly married couples do, newly divorced individuals must review wills and insurance policies and make sure they are designating the right beneficiaries. If the couple has small children, it may be necessary to set up a trust fund.

Starting a Family

Parenthood can certainly be rewarding in many ways, but it can also be a big financial investment. It’s not all about paying for diapers and baby formula, either. Growing families need to make decisions about filing their income taxes, and that means understanding the different types of exemptions and credits. They might also be interested in planning for their child’s education or for any medical expenses that arise.

Saving for Retirement

For many workers, saving for retirement is a major concern. In fact, almost one-third of adults in the United States fear they might not have enough money saved to last them through their golden years, Accounting Today reported – and just 12 percent of Americans feel 100 percent sure their retirement savings will last. Your clients might come to you with questions about how much money they need, how much they’re legally allowed to put in a retirement fund each year and when they can begin drawing money from that fund without penalties. They might also have questions about what to expect from programs like Social Security when they retire.

When you begin your accounting career, you’ll find that clients look to accountants to provide objective, credible advice for reaching their financial goals or managing the economic impact of life changes. Your education and the experience you gain along the way will help you help them.