With more than two decades of experience, Ameriprise Financial Advisor Karen Harvey has helped countless people create financial plans.
Now, Harvey wants to focus on the bigger picture. “At this stage of the game, I want to help educate my community so more people feel financially confident,” Harvey said.
Getting into finance was an easy decision for Harvey. Because she enjoys and is motivated by helping people, becoming a financial adviser was a natural fit, Harvey explained. She chose financial advising to help people because it’s an area that many people tend to neglect, at the sake of their financial security. She’s also a planner and loves to plan ahead. “Financial planning is one of the cornerstones of being successful and happy,” Harvey said.
Harvey chose to work with Ameriprise Financial seven years ago because its vision to help ordinary Americans achieve their financial dreams and feel confident about their futures appealed to her. For Harvey, this aligned with her personal goals. “I focus on creating a financial plan first,” she said. After a plan is in place, I help clients organize asset allocations and product solutions that are in each client’s best interest.
“I customize the plan to what the individual wants,” Harvey said. “It’s impossible to cookie-cut a financial plan, because everyone has different incomes, different expenses [and] different goals.”
In the past, people would usually only meet with financial advisers when they were older and near retirement. However, the best time to meet with a financial adviser is the moment you earn an income that covers basic expenses with some money left over.
“The truth is the generations have changed,” Harvey said. “My parents could depend on a pension. But younger generations have to start planning earlier.” Harvey has helped her son, age 28, create a financial plan. “Starting sooner rather than later is definitely recommended,” Harvey said.
She assists individuals, families and businesses. Through the Ameriprise Financial Wellness program, Harvey assists businesses through an employee education program and will even meet with people one-on-one to help them get on the right track.
Her advice: don’t procrastinate. The initial meeting is complimentary, and is used to get to know the client — their income, assets, investments and goals. Then, clients can decide if they want to enter into a planning relationship. Karen helps them create a plan and frequently reviews it to ensure they’re on track or to make necessary adjustments. Financial planning isn’t a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process, Harvey said.
After being in the business for so long, Harvey has seen her clients’ financial plans succeed. “Now, I’m getting emails or letters or hearing stories about the travels that they’re able to do, and it’s very rewarding,” Harvey said. “The main benefit of this job is sitting back and saying, ‘Wow, I had a hand in that.'”
CLAIRE CAMPBELL is a journalism student at the University of Florida and graduates in fall 2016. She ultimately hopes to move to Orlando and begin a career in public relations.