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Raymond James: A column by James Kruzan

Team up for financial future

January 26, 2011 - Many investors rely upon financial advisors to help them manage their investment portfolio. Ideally, the financial advisor and investor should work together, as a team, to find the right investments and make informed decisions to help meet investment objectives. Below are some keys to developing a partnership with your financial advisor.

Review investment objectives. Your financial advisor will help define your investment objectives, but he or she needs your assistance to do a thorough job. Think through your objectives before your next meeting. Your participation and feedback will greatly aid your financial advisor in formulating a strategy that fits your unique goals, timeline and risk tolerance.

Ask questions be an informed investor. Be sure you fully understand the investments recommended for your portfolio. If you don't, it's your responsibility as an investor to let your financial advisor know you need more information. Don't be afraid to ask questions about your financial advisors recommendations and advice, after all they're your investments!

Understand the risks with each investment. It's important to fully understand the risks in every investment you own and the reasons why the value of your investments may rise and fall. Your financial advisor can help explain the risks involved with each type of investment, and your questions will help make sure nothing is overlooked. If you don't completely understand the risks associated with your investment, ask more questions until you do.

Meet regularly to review your portfolio. Use these meetings to your advantage, go over your current investments, their performance and evaluate other investment opportunities. Regularly scheduled meetings with your financial advisor are a good time to inform him or her about significant changes in your life that may require shifts in your strategy. Also, major changes in the economy or new tax laws should also prompt a review.

Maintain up to date records. Make sure your confirmations and account statements are reviewed and saved in a safe place. These documents help you monitor your investments on an on-going basis and will be useful come tax time. When you come across something you don't understand, ask for assistance from your financial advisor. The key is being an informed investor and keeping good records will aid you in this task.

James B. Kruzan, CFP, is a Registered Principal and Branch Manager for Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Fenton and Clarkston.

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