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Navigating your way through a financial advisor

By Dawn Burleigh

Financial advisors can be invaluable resources for people who need help managing their money. There’s an existing misconception that financial advisors are only for the rich, but anyone can benefit from some guidance in regard to their finances. The key is finding a planner who understands your needs and is willing to work with you, no matter how big or small your financial dreams may be.

“A financial advisor is for anyone who wants help in creating a plan to reach their goals,” Karen Collier, with Edward Jones in Bridge City, said. “Those goals could be for college, retirement, or buying a car or a home.”

According to U.S. News and World Report, some financial advisors are no longer interested in working with people without substantial portfolios. Certain firms have stopped paying commissions to brokers for accounts that are considered small, including customers with assets worth between $100,000 and $500,000. While that can make it difficult to find financial help, there are ways to receive assistance.

With Edward jones, there is not a minimum or maximum amount one must have to invest.

“It can be $50-$100 a month for a child’s college tuition,” Collier said. “Or to rollover a 401k. A financial advisor is for everyone. Younger people do not have large sums of money.”

One is never too young or too old to seek the guidance of a financial advisor.

“If someone leaves a job and needs to rollover their 401k to an IRA, we can help them find the best options for them,” Collier said.

An IRA is an individual retirement account that is a tax-advantaged account that individuals use to save and invest for retirement. There are several types of IRAs—Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, and SIMPLE IRAs. Each has different rules regarding eligibility, taxation, and withdrawals, according to www.investopedia.com.

Financial advisors may receive compensation in one of two ways: fee-only and non-fee-only. A fee-only advisor typically charges an hourly fee or flat rate for services. A non-fee-only advisor may be compensated at a percentage of assets earned or may receive incentives and commissions from their companies based on preestablished sales goals or objectives. There are no right and wrong answers to fee schedules, but find a situation that works for you.

Investing does take time and is not a quick return for ones funds.

“There are no guarantees with stocks,” Collier said. “But we can minimize the swing of the market. We use a risk tolerance questionnaire to let me know how aggressively or conservatively to invest the funds based on the client’s goals.”

She added that some funds can be left uninvested depending on the client’s timeline. It is all about building a portfolio to meet the needs of the client.

Some people need help navigating the ropes of financial planning. Financial planners can help people from all backgrounds establish and achieve their financial goals.

For one’s first meeting, there is no need to bring paperwork, statements or other financial information.

“It can be helpful, but the first meeting is an opportunity to meet me,” Collier said. “I like to make them feel comfortable and to build a relationship. I will provide a checklist of what they need to bring.”

While wondering if one can benefit from the advice of a financial planner, one may feel nervous about the unfamiliar while setting the appointment, it could bring one closer to achieving their dreams.

“Everyone can benefit from a financial advisor,” Collier said.