If you think that personal financial advisors are only for the rich, you're wrong. There are affordable options available, and just about anyone who goes through some life changes needs to reevaluate his or her personal financial situation.

Here are some life events, and how a financial advisor might help you through them.

  • Death of a parent. You may be the executor of the estate, but now may not be a good time to bone up on all the complexities involved. An independent advisor might be able to guide you.
  • Marriage. You've just tied the knot and decided to blend your finances into one.
  • Divorce. Do you still file taxes jointly this year? Can the stay-at-home former spouse still make an IRA contribution? You'll need to get answers to these questions.
  • Complex financial products. You should figure out whether disability insurance, long-term care insurance, and/or an umbrella liability policy makes sense for you. (Learn more about insurance in our Insurance Center.)
  • Buying and selling a house. The hallmark of these transactions is a sudden string of big-dollar decisions with little time to think them through (our Home Center offers some tips).
  • Saving for college. You'll have to figure out how to make the most of Junior's college fund (this might also be useful).
  • Estate planning. Who will manage the kids' inheritance should you die unexpectedly? Should you set up a trust? What are your other options?
  • Retirement. Perhaps four brokers have shown you four different plans; two say you can retire and two say you can't. An objective review of all four plans might come in handy. (Learn more about retirement issues in our retirement area and Rule Your Retirement newsletter.)
  • Employee stock options. What are the tax implications of exercising your options?

If you're interested in finding a good financial advisor, talk to some friends and see if they have one they recommend highly. Our Advisor Center can also help, with some additional tips and guidance.