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Consumers Describe The Ideal Advisor



Street interviews conducted in Manhattan offer a snapshot of what busy, working Americans look for in their financial advisor.

The interviews – an admittedly unscientific sample – reveal consumers’ desire to find an advisor who fits their financial goals.

In response to the question “What do you look for in a financial advisor?” answers varied but they stuck to a consistent theme around the idea of finding the right fit.

One interviewee mentioned honesty and an advisor “who has your best interest at heart as opposed to theirs.”

“I think trust is a really big factor,” said another. “Somebody who is in my inner circle is important to me.”

“You got to think about my needs, what I’m trying to accomplish,” said a third.

The answers offer clues as to how basic, simple and grounded many consumers want advisors to be.

The interviews were part of multimedia content offered with the release of the Genworth’s Financial Resources and Engagement study.

The study, conducted in collaboration with J&K Solutions, found that few Americans take steps to improve their understanding of financial matters even as their nest eggs grow larger with time.

And what about all that talk about alternative investments, fine-tuning stock and bond portfolios, savvy tax strategies and rising interest rates? Not one interviewee mentioned any of that.

One interviewee, an employee with tenure, said she wanted an advisor “who understands realistically what my relationship is to money.”

“I don’t like to invest, so I need someone who’s going to understand my willingness to be involved in the investment process and what kind of risk I’m interested in, and ultimately the safety of my money and making sure I have what I need at the end of the day,” the interview subject said.

“I’m not sure that I would want a big risk taker because I would want something with a little bit more security behind it,” said another. “I’m not interested in making tons and tons of money, just kind of having something that’s sure.”

The video interviews also found that Americans wanted a financial advisor with a good reputation, and one who was willing to research new ways to protect a client’s wealth. One woman said she wanted an advisor who would not hold past financial decisions and mistakes against her.

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“It’s all about finding the right person for you because I believe a financial advisor does help you in the long run, but it’s always trying to find who’s the right person in your corner,” said one man in a suit and baseball cap interviewed outside a Starbucks.

is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at

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