I make $102K a year, but I’m late to saving and have student loans. I want to invest better, live on ‘as little as possible’ and buy rental property for income. Where ...






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Question: I am reaching out for help hiring an advisor. My salary is $101,899, with a bonus that can vary each year but last year it was $17,000. I would like an adviser who will proactively help me grow a portfolio, tell me where and when to invest and work with my accountant that helps maintain and reach my goals. I am also looking for someone who helps late savers. Note that I have student loans, I’m securing a mortgage now, I don’t have a car loan, I’d like to live on as little as possible and I’d like to secure rental properties as part of my investment strategy. (Looking for a financial adviser too? This tool can help match you with an adviser who might meet your needs.)

Answer: Kudos for coming to a place where you’re now looking to save and invest for your future — no matter how late in the game you feel you are. A financial adviser could be of help to you, but it may be tougher to find someone to help you at your wealth level, as many advisers have account minimums. 

That said, it’s not impossible, and your best bet may be an adviser who works on an hourly or flat-fee project basis. “These types of advisers are often more willing to help you address the full spectrum of financial planning issues,” says certified financial planner Joe Favorito at Landmark Wealth Management.

Looking for a new financial adviser or have an issue with your current one? Email picks@marketwatch.com.

Pros recommend searching on sites like CFP Board, the National Association of Professional Financial Advisors or XY Planning Network. “NAPFA and XY Planning Network are industry organizations that help promote fee-only financial planning and they offer tools to assist consumers with their search for a financial adviser. Typically, you can filter by location and an adviser’s specialties,” says certified financial planner Mark Humphries at Sentinel Financial Planning. (Looking for a financial adviser too? This tool can help match you with an adviser who might meet your needs.)

Look, too, for a fee-only adviser, as they are paid a set rate for their services rather than a commission on the products they sell or trade. And look for someone who has experience where you need it, such as with real estate investments, investing and budgeting. (Here are the 15 questions you should ask any adviser you want to hire.) “The advantage of working with an adviser is that you can develop a plan and monitor and track your progress,” says certified financial planner Anthony Ferreira at WorthPointe Wealth Management. (Looking for a financial adviser? This tool can help match you with an adviser who might meet your needs.)

After you’ve narrowed down several prospective advisers, speak with them to get a sense of their philosophy and to understand if it matches yours. “I believe finding the right financial adviser is more than someone who can crunch numbers and make recommendations. It’s finding someone you feel comfortable with and are not hesitant to be honest with,” says Humphries.

Discuss the pros and cons of all different investment solutions, including investment real estate. “Just like getting advice from your doctor or coach or physical trainer, the advice may not be what you want to hear,” says Ferreira.

You mention working with an accountant, and certainly, many folks have both an accountant and a financial planner who fulfill different needs; ultimately your accountant and financial planner can work together to make sure they’re on the same page regarding your financial situation. Just consider whether you need both: While accountants typically handle auditing work, tax preparation and some financial forecasting, financial planners assist with things money management and retirement planning.

Looking for a new financial adviser or have an issue with your current one? Email picks@marketwatch.com.

Questions edited for brevity and clarity.

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