By MELISSA CLARK
VALERIE ZWOSTA: Local Wells Fargo financial advisor Valerie Zwosta stands in the Wells Fargo Advisors offices at 6060 S. American Plaza St. in Tulsa.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
When individuals begin planning their financial futures, Valerie Zwosta, a financial advisor for Wells Fargo Advisors, says the most important thing is to just get started.
“Ask questions and get involved in the process,” Zwosta says.
Zwosta admits there are many ways to invest on your own, but what she finds is that most people choose to seek professional help. Many of her clients are people who don’t have the time, knowledge or desire to be concerned with the intricacies involved in developing, maintaining, adjusting and monitoring an investment plan. This is where a financial advisor can be especially helpful.
“I help people identify, prioritize and plan for their financial goals,” Zwosta says. “Many people have things in mind they would like to accomplish. I help them build a plan and guide their decisions to work towards those goals.”
Zwosta notes that it’s important for clients to seek outside advice. The additional perspective can help prevent emotional decision-making during challenging times.
“The role of the advisor is about being there through thick and thin and celebrating when we are able to stay on track toward meeting the client’s financial goals,” she says.
Zwosta explains that when she works with individuals, she asks a lot of questions to find out what a client’s answers actually mean to them. This makes defining and then prioritizing goals easier because the goals reflect the client’s priorities and not her own idea of what might be important.
As for whether there are differences between working with men versus women, Zwosta says women don’t necessarily invest differently than men. She says other variables such as goals and risk tolerance play a larger role than gender in how one approaches financial goal-setting and financial management.
“In my experience, the biggest differentiator between male and female clients is the relationship,” she says. “Women tend to be more inquisitive. They want to make sure they have entrusted their money with a financial advisor who understands their unique needs and situation. Generally, I think women need to feel like they can trust us as their advisors, that we understand where our clients are coming from and that we have the skills, training and background to help them.”
Zwosta suggests that women bring an interesting perspective to investment planning in that they often hold a unique position in the family dynamic. She explains that many are caregivers to children and aging parents. Some have two-part careers – meaning they start a career and then take time to raise children and then return to the workforce years later. Or, they leave the workforce late in their careers to help with an aging relative or child who moved back home.
“This time away from the workforce can make a huge difference in the amount of retirement assets women can accumulate,” she explains.
Zwosta says that women may also find themselves single later in life through divorce or death of a spouse or partner.
“The longer I’m in financial services, the more I see that there is a need to understand and work with women facing some or all of these challenges,” she says. “Since I have and am dealing with many of these issues myself, it helps me to understand some of the concerns and fears they may have.”
Whether a person has years of experience setting and working toward financial goals or are just now starting the process to find an advisor and get on track, Zwosta says the important thing is to just move forward.
“Don’t be concerned about your level of investment knowledge,” she says. “You are not alone. Interview different financial advisors and work with the one with whom you feel most comfortable.”
Zwosta works through Wells Fargo Advisors because there she has the tools, training and other resources she needs to offer a holistic investment planning experience for her clients, she continues.
“I strive to provide top-tier service for my clients. There is a high level of professionalism and expertise in the Tulsa office that I can grow with. I was drawn to the client-centered focus and leadership of the branch manager: John Gero.”
For anyone interested in getting their financial goals on track and who wishes to talk to an advisor, contact Valerie Zwosta at Wells Fargo Advisors, 918-742-8000, Valerie.Zwosta@wellsfargoadvisors.com.