Tips for choosing your financial advisor

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Many people think of a financial advisor as someone who makes investment recommendations and executes trades.

However, a truly beneficial relationship with a financial advisor should include so much more. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your financial planner.

  1. Goal setting. For most people, being able to retire is their No. 1 financial goal. You want to work with an advisor who follows a planning process that helps you define your dream retirement. Then, together you can chart the course for how you are going to get there.

And remember, goals evolve and change over time and new challenges can appear when least expected. It is paramount that you work with an advisor who is actively working with you throughout the year and conducts in-depth annual reviews to make sure that you continue to make progress to achieve the future you envision.

Do not settle for an "advisor" who calls you once a year to go over how your assets have done.

  1. Addressing the day-to-day. While helping you save and invest for the long-term is an important part of the financial advisor role, providing guidance on budgeting, cash management, benefit selection, major purchases, etc. are equally important.

A good advisor will provide you with tools to effectively manage your day-to-day financial life. Management of your cash flow will contribute to long-term success.

  1. Managing risk. Many advisors focus solely on helping you accumulate and grow your wealth. However, a comprehensive, integrated financial plan should include income and asset protection.

Protection planning is the foundation of any sound financial plan. Topics like life and disability income insurance as well as home, auto, and umbrella liability insurance need to be incorporated into your overall planning process to protect the people you love and the things you own.

  1. Working with trusted advisors. When choosing a financial advisor, make sure he or she is willing to put in the time and effort to form a strong partnership with not only you, but also your other trusted advisors, such as CPAs and attorneys.

Together, you can design strategies to grow your assets, minimize taxes and create a lasting legacy for the people you love and causes that are important to you.

Luke Gawronski is a financial planner and investment advisor representative with Barnum Financial Group in Bluffton. lgawronski@barnumfg.com

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