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Seeking debt relief? Choose the right financial advisor

Living under a heavy burden of debt can be incredibly stressful. Many Washington residents will go to great lengths to climb out from under a mountain of debt. One common debt relief approach is to work with a financial advisor to gain control over one's finances. Unfortunately, not all advisors have their client's best interests at heart.

It is important to check the background of a financial advisor prior to entering a professional relationship. One way to do so is to check to ensure that he or she is licensed. The Department of Justice regularly catches individuals who are working as financial advisors without the proper licensing. There are various tools that allow individuals to determine if their advisor is licensed to provide these services.

Another issue involves financial advisors who have been cited for misconduct. There are a number of different alerts that may be cause for concern. These include investigations by state or federal agencies, customer complaints or legal judgments. Be aware that the simple presence of a misconduct event does not necessarily mean that the advisor is unfit. That said, a pattern of problems should be a serious red flag.

Working with a financial advisor can help Washington residents gain control over their financial situation. However, there are other means of reaching debt relief, including but not limited to personal bankruptcy. When considering debt relief options, it is important to make a decision after becoming fully informed of the pros and cons of each possible choice. That includes checking up on the background of a potential financial advisor.

Source: Money, "Is Your Financial Advisor a Scam Artist? Here's How to Find Out", Megan Leonhardt, Jan. 20, 2017

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