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“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

Everyone wants retirement success, but the average person retiring in the 21st century has no idea of the challenges that await them in their “second life.” They have worked hard and have diligently saved to accomplish their end goal—a comfortable, stress-free retirement. However, retirement isn’t just about sipping piña coladas on the beach; in fact, the most crucial part of your fiscal responsibility starts now. But where to begin?

What is a Functional Retirement Advisor?

The first step—and the most important—is to find a Functional Retirement Advisor (FRA). This is a trustworthy, empathetic person who puts emphasis on plans, not products. This advisor cares just as much about the QUALitative (knowing you as a person) aspects of your life as they do about the QUANTitative (the numbers).

This is someone who, through years of experience and education, understands behavioral investing and applies these principles to their own financially secure life. It is my belief and my own experience that FRAs need both QUANtitative and QUALitative data to create a precise and well-defined PLAN for you.

You deserve to have a well-rounded, self-supporting and honorable retirement. With a dysfunctional advisor, you will have a dysfunctional retirement that leaves you dependent and undignified, relying on your children and the government to bail you out. With a FRA in place, you will have the greatest probability of pursuring that comfortable, stress-free retirement you always dreamed of.

Let me begin by explaining that a FRA is not a title or designation that can be attained or conferred upon a financial advisor. This is my own description of a skilled, highly experienced, industry-trained financial professional. A FRA makes sure they understand YOU. I am partial to the FRA because I’ve been a financial advisor since 1995 and have seen the good planning that the FRA can do for retirees.

I compare FRAs to the physicians who practice functional medicine. Functional medicine treats the person who has the disease, not just the disease the person has. They go deeper and treat patients holistically, trying first to diagnose the “how” and the “why” of the illness, and then deciding “where do we go from here?” in treating their patients for the long term and getting them back on the right track, healthwise. The FRA advises the client (patient) and helps them get back on the right track, wealth wise.

Recognizing and then hiring your FRA is your BEST chance for overcoming the challenges of 21st-century retirement. Indeed, a quality relationship with an FRA may very well be the difference between a functional retirement and a dysfunctional retirement.

Now that you know what a FRA is what is your next step? Through this series of articles, I will cover things like the landscape of the 21st-century retirement, the qualities of a FRA, and questions you should ask your FRA. By the end of this series, you will have all of the information you need to have the financial independence in retirement you deserve.

Joseph F. Falbo, CFP®, AIF®, CRC® is an independent LPL financial advisor that helps grow and preserve clients’ wealth using cutting edge, customized, and comprehensive strategies. With over two decades of experience, Joe helps clients to pursue and retain the lifestyle they want in retirement. To discuss your retirement goals or any financial topic you want, schedule a 20-minute complimentary call. To learn more about Joe, please visit falbowealth.com.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.