People often ask me about the value of hiring a financial advisor. After all, they charge you money with the goal of making you MORE money. To many people, this means basing a decision to hire an advisor solely on whether or not they can deliver rates of return that beat the market.

But good financial planning decisions go far beyond how and where you invest – they can potentially enhance your lifetime standard of living. It’s important to understand that, because success may not always equal a higher portfolio return in the short term. Here are five intangible ways that a financial advisor can potentially add value to you.

1. Providing some personal responsibility

You’ve got goals in life… Trying to get there from here might sometimes seem impossible. To help deal with this, your advisor can take charge and work with you to set priorities, review your progress, and keep you on track.

2. An advisor can help you to manage your expectations

Maybe your goal is to retire at age 55. Great! That could happen! But if doing so requires you to cut your expenses in half immediately while also taking a second job, then maybe your expectations are a little too ambitious.

3. Advisors can add some objectivity

All too often, emotional decisions override rationality, and people wind up doing the wrong things at the worst possible time. An advisor can approach issues from the outside to help keep you from becoming your own worst enemy.

4. Taking the initiative

Hey, life happens, right? But by being proactive instead of reactive, a financial advisor may anticipate certain transitional events in life – like early retirement, death, divorce, or the need for long-term care – and thus create a plan of action to address these issues in advance.

5. Added value though education

Planning and investing is complicated, for sure. And a lot of that uncertainty may be reduced by simply knowing what is being recommended to you and why, what you’re paying for and how much, and what your risks and options are going forward. An educated investor is, I think, a much happier investor.

It’s important to remember that good financial advice requires way more than just selecting investments or providing short-term market returns. It requires substantial expertise on both the investing AND planning sides. By providing the intangibles I just talked about, you may find that your advisor has added a LOT of extra value.