Key qualities in an adviser can enhance chances for retirement success.

Consumers seeking to maximize their financial resources in retirement are well served by selecting an adviser with essential skills that prioritize objectivity, customization and client interest.

If you’re excited about the prospect of retiring, but overwhelmed by the idea of planning for it, you’re not alone. Accessing friends, family and online tools, while well-intended, is generally not the answer. And if your trials omitted a key planning aspect like tax planning, or when to initiate Social Security, a common conclusion is that retirement planning is not DIY – Do It Yourself – and is followed by a search to find someone who can help.

But who can you trust, and where do you look? According to April, 2016 figures supplied by the Certified Financial Planning Board, there are nearly 75,000 certified financial planning professionals in the United States. Males comprise 76% and females 24%, with nearly half from 40 – 60 years old. Factor in the number of related or independent workers at banks, brokerages and insurance companies, and that number surely multiplies.

Amongst a sea or possibilities, an adviser with the following attributes can help you pursue financial freedom:

• An adviser who can cull 5 – 10 options from the many thousands available for a particular situation in order to facilitate and simplify your decision-making.

• An adviser who will act in your best interest, and not one who acts selfishly to achieve maximum compensation, sales goals or incentives that benefit him first. This was recently mandated by the United States Department of Labor. The DOL cited a report estimating that conflict of interest incidents had annual costs of 1% per affected investor, about $17 billion per year, and that could lead to a 25% reduction in an individual’s retirement savings over the course of 35 years.

• An adviser who listens and understands your unique needs to provide a customized plan that spans an entire portfolio, and is not just plugging in the numbers cookie-cutter style. A focused adviser will keep you from chasing the overwhelming information available at Internet portals, and can distinguish from the sponsored information and sound bites that pervade our media.

Family Orientation
• An adviser who lives The Golden Rule, one who recognizes that a well-intended plan can continue as a legacy to serve more than one generation, or, the special needs of specific individuals.

• An adviser who’s not locked in to a narrow band of products, or is not held captive by a limited selection of products that his own company offers. Ideally, the adviser will have a full slate of products to offer from a variety of sources, and will be a champion of full disclosure and transparency of all fees and expectations. Beware of the adviser who sells a predominance of one product as a be-all, end-all.

There’s really but one chance to get your retirement plan right, a plan that can withstand market volatility and still allow you peace of mind. By searching among several advisers, and by obtaining a proposal from each, you’ll have the best perspective from which to make an informed and comprehensive decision.

Syndicated financial columnist Steve Savant interviews retirement income certified professional and investment adviser representative Tripp LeFerve on Who’s Telling the Truth About Annuities. Right on the Money is a weekly financial talk show for consumers, distributed as video press releases to 280 media outlets and social media networks nationwide.