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What can you expect from a financial adviser?

Charlie Wick, Tina DeWitt and Todd DeJong
Vail, CO, Colorado

The investment world can be complex, and trying to navigate it by yourself is a daunting task. That’s why you may want to work with a professional financial adviser ” someone with the experience, expertise and resources to help you reach all your important financial objectives.

Your first task, then, is to find a financial adviser with whom you will be comfortable. Ask your friends, relatives and co-workers for referrals, and don’t be shy about interviewing a few financial advisers. When you’re talking to prospective advisers, look for someone who stresses comprehensive financial strategies, rather than individual transactions.

Ideally, you will want someone who asks questions such as these:

– What are your goals? You’ll need a financial adviser who shows considerable interest in your short- and long-term goals. After all, you’ll want this person to help you accomplish a variety of things ” saving for a new home, sending your children to college, attaining a comfortable retirement lifestyle and so on.

Every single recommendation an adviser makes should be based on your goals.

– What does your family situation look like? A financial adviser will ask you a lot of family-related questions: How many children do you have? Do you plan to send them to college? If so, how much do you hope to contribute to their education? Does your spouse have a retirement plan at work? Do you have aging parents who may require some type of assistance from you?

By eliciting this type of information, a financial adviser can help you create a “family-friendly” investment plan.

– What are your attitudes toward investment risk? A conscientious financial adviser will determine if you are a conservative investor (who favors investments that offer a greater likelihood of preservation of principal), an aggressive investor (who is comfortable taking greater risks in hopes of greater returns) or a moderate investor (who falls between the other two groups).

While a good financial adviser will, of course, tailor recommendations to your risk tolerance, he or she may, on occasion, need to nudge you out of your “comfort zone” to help you achieve your goals.

– What investments do you currently own? For a financial adviser to do a thorough job, he or she will need a complete understanding of your current holdings: your IRA, 401(k), stocks, bonds, government securities, certificates of deposit (CDs) ” everything.

Once a financial adviser knows what you have, he or she can identify any potential gaps in your portfolio and make appropriate recommendations for filling them.

– What are your feelings about leaving a legacy? For many people, the issue of leaving a legacy is highly emotional. That’s because so many of us, almost instinctively, want to “leave something behind” for our families and those charitable organizations we support.

A good financial adviser will probe your attitudes toward leaving a legacy and help develop strategies that support your goals in this area. Eventually, your financial adviser may have to work with your other financial professionals, including your tax adviser and attorney, to carry out your plans for leaving the legacy you desire.

As you work toward your financial objectives, you’ll have a lot of questions. Just make sure your financial adviser does, too.

Charlie Wick, Tina DeWitt, and Todd DeJong are financial advisers with Edward Jones Investments. They can be reached in Eagle at 970-328-4959, in Edwards at 970-926-1728, and in Avon at 970-845-1025.


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