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‘I really need help.’ I have $580K in retirement savings, but can’t find a financial adviser because they want clients to be richer than me. What should I do? 

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Question: I’m in Maryland and could use a financial planner for my Roth IRA and my TSP [a retirement savings plan for government employees] to make investment suggestions and help manage my funds to improve returns. My TSP is about $500,000 but there’s not much to “manage.” My Roth IRA is about $80,000 and I really need help finding the right investments to grow this account in this terrible environment. Most advisors want to manage accounts over $500,000.  Who can I call and trust?

Answer: Some financial planners only work with the very wealthy, but plenty work for those with less. “Not all financial planners require a minimum number of assets to work with you,” says certified financial planner Jonathan Grannick of Wonder Wealth. (Looking for a new financial adviser? This tool can match you to an advisor who might meet your needs.)

There are many advisers who work with clients of any net worth and instead of charging an assets under management (AUM) fee, they might charge a flat monthly retainer, a per-project fee (this might range from $1,000 and $10,000 depending on the scope of the work), or an hourly fee (this typically ranges from $200 and $500 per hour). Indeed, an advice-only planner can help manage your assets without actually managing them for you (as an AUM adviser would). (Looking for a new financial adviser? This tool can match you to an advisor who may meet your needs.)

“Typically, you’re able to pay on an hourly basis for advice or as a monthly fee if you would like to work with someone on an ongoing basis. When searching for an adviser, make sure that the adviser is a fiduciary and only paid by you to ensure no conflicts of interest,” says certified financial planner Laura Higgins at Approachable Financial Planning. Look for a fee-only planner, and note that they “can make sure your TSP is where it should be for your risk tolerance and also make suggestions,” says Lauren Lindsay, certified financial planner at Beacon Financial Planning. Note too that fees are negotiable, and here’s how to pay less.

Have a question about your financial adviser or looking for a new one? Email picks@marketwatch.com.

Before you look for an adviser, you’ll want to be clear on your goal. “Is it to build the best investment portfolio before taxes? Or net of taxes? Is it to uncover and manage a variety of risks, some having nothing to do with investments? Many business owners have their wealth tied up in a private company. For you, it’s a TSP with limited investment choices. In every case there are planning needs,” says certified financial planner Elliot Dole of Buckingham Strategic Wealth. (Looking for a new financial adviser? This tool can match you to an advisor who may meet your needs.)

What’s more, your financial plan should take all aspects of your financial life into account, including all expected sources of retirement income, when that time comes. “To feel comfortable about your investments, it’s important to have realistic expectations for what you can expect. A financial planner can help put this together so you can have a reasonable sense of what lies ahead under a range of scenarios, including portfolio allocations and expected investment returns,” says Belding.

To start looking for an adviser, you can go to Garrett Planning Network, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) or XY Planning Network.

Questions edited for brevity and clarity.

Have a question about your financial adviser or looking for a new one? Email picks@marketwatch.com.

The advice, recommendations or rankings expressed in this article are those of MarketWatch Picks, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our commercial partners.

Credit: marketwatch.com

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