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Seeking Financial Advisor

MoneyTalk is important, no doubt.  Kate recently emailed:

It was easy back when our finances were a simple checking and savings account. Now that we've got college funds, IRAs, a mortgage and - happily - some extra to invest, things are a bit more complex. We'd like to sit down with a professional who can help us decide how best to allocate our resources. We're looking for someone who will take the time to understand our individual situation, not try to sell us a financial package, and preferably someone who is familiar with socially-responsible investing. Any recommendations?

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Gail Parker is an independent financial advisor, not linked to any organization; she has a lot of experience within investment groups, but works independently now. She is very supportive of a socially responsible portfolio - try her at Gail J. Parker, CFP, NAPFA Registered Investment Advisor, Tel: 503 291 0278

Yea! I've been wanting this too. Thanks UMs for posing the question and offering a solution!

I'd recommend Jason Drews. He's a financial advisor for Thrivent Financial, a member-owned not-for-profit financial services company - they really give back to the community (they're the largest corporate sponsor for Habitat for Humanity) and work with a lot of socially-responsible funds. 503.330.4655 or jason.drews@thrivent.com

I highly recommend Susan Hammit, AFC. Susan Hammitt is an Certified Financial Counselor offering fee based financial counseling and planning to clients who are interested in making well informed financial decisions. More importantly for me, is that she is mindful of personal needs and understands the differences in spending/saving/investing personalities. I have attended some of her small group classes and will most definately use her in the future on a per hour basis.

Here is a link to her website: http://www.hammittafc.com/

Good luck!

I highly recommend Otto Guardado with Ameriprise Financial. He has been a huge help to us and a great help to very good friends of ours. Otto is supportive of any investing you choose and is really good at researching, summarizing and presenting options. He is certified to help with all aspects of your finances: retirement, education, insurance needs, etc, etc. All of these skills AND a great sense of humor! Here is his contact info:

Otto Michael Guardado, CRPC®
Financial Advisor | Advisor Coach
Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
1499 SE Tech Center Pl., Suite 220 | Vancouver, WA 98683
Direct: 360.713.5484 | Fax: 360.882.7507
Office: 503.220.0444 x.5484
otto.m.guardado@ampf.com
ameriprise.com
CA Insurance License # 0F03913

My husband and I have gone to Madeline Moore for more than five years for guidance on our finances, including our 401ks, IRAs, 529 plans for our daughter, life insurance policies, writing a will, etc. She focuses on ethical investing. She also is a fee only consultant, which means you pay a flat fee instead of commissions. She is terrific and she's located downtown. Her web site is:
http://www.madelinemoore.com/

From her site:
"Madeline offers a special emphasis on ethical investing, for clients who want to screen their investments to be compatible with their political and social values."

I can't say enough about Susan Hammitt who was mentioned before. She's a Certified Financial Counselor and charges by the visit/hour. We've worked with her this year and came up with a plan which helped pay off our credit cards and start saving. She's really great and made sure my husband and I were comfortable & understood every decision we were making. She's got a great personality and is super friendly!
Her website is: http://www.hammittafc.com/

I'm a regular lurker of the site and have some experience with this topic, but as a Financial Planner I'm on the other side of the coin. Having been the one to pick up the pieces from bad planning relationships, I strongly encourage new clients to ask questions in the initial meeting to ensure a good personal fit and to better understand exactly what services are provided and at what cost.

There are lots of resources online that list questions to ask a potential financial advisor, the best in my opinion are:

How to Choose a Financial Planner by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards
http://www.cfp.net/learn/knowledgebase.asp?id=6

Comprehensive Financial Planning Diagnostic by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA)
http://www.napfa.org/UserFiles/File/Membership/Comp_Financial_Plan_Diagnostic.pdf

How a Financial Planner Can Help You ... and How to Choose the Right One by the Financial Planning Association (FPA)
http://www.fpanet.org/public/tools/financialplannerhelp.cfm

10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Planner by the Federal Citizen Information Center (the people from Pueblo, Colorado)
http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/money/financial-planner/10questions.html

I also think it's important to interview several financial planners. Hopefully this will be a long-term relationship and I believe it is worth a bit of legwork in the beginning to make sure you get headed in the right direction.

Best of luck in your search.

-Ben
Associate Financial Planner
Silver Oak Advisory Group
http://www.silveroak.net/

We are using Dana Gardner of Willamette Financial Services and like her a lot. 503/238-5929, dana@wfgadvisors.com, 3419 NE Sandy Blvd. She does "green" and conventional investing, and is also a life insurance broker. Well priced and upfront about payments and fees.

We have worked with Ben Gilbert, Silver Oak Advisory Group, http://www.silveroak.net
I see he posted some suggestions as to how to choose a good advisor. This is typical of his thorough, thoughtful style.
Ben has really worked to understand our specific financial goals, and helped us to attain them. We are purchasing our first house, and he has been very helpful in that process, as well as allocating funds for education etc.
I would highly recommend him.

Since it's been nearly 3 years since anyone posted on this topic, can I ask, again, if there are any financial planners you'd really recommend? We are looking to detach from our longtime advisor in another state and find someone local who's easy to talk to, plainspeaking, and (ideally but not necessarily) close to home in N/NE. Thanks!

You need to be specific when it comes to your financial goals. Talk to a reliable advisor who can address your needs.

Financial advisory as profession has always been the toughest and has to deal with so much numbers and people. I have known people who considered the job a pain the neck but they find it quite enjoyable. The one thing they would have to consider is the public and the countries economy since the two have so much to deal with each one. However, the role of a financial advisor is very essential when it comes to controlling the cycle of money. But I must agree that it is important to ask yourself first some questions about the money you have, the money you saved, and the money you spent.

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