Current Issue October 2015 Special Section

Get to Know Karen Harvey, Ameriprise Financial Advisor

Written By: Jackie Smith

For Ameriprise Financial Advisor Karen Harvey, becoming a financial adviser was a natural fit with her love of helping people.

“Building relationships with clients is absolutely the most rewarding part of my job,” said Harvey, who has been working in the finance industry for over two decades.

By listening to clients’ specific needs and offering the right tools to fit those needs, Harvey helps her clients alleviate any financial stresses and plan for their ideal futures.

“Watching a child graduate from college after you helped the parents develop an educational savings plan or reading emails from clients who are enjoying retirement thanks to smart 401(k) and savings choices always makes my day,” Harvey said.

Statistics show that financial stress is a serious and widespread problem. According to studies conducted by Ameriprise, 73 percent of Americans say they feel “somewhat” to “severe” stress — and money is the No. 1 cause.

Harvey believes the key to overcoming financial stress is education.

“Some people just don’t know the right questions to ask, so the more education I can offer, the better they will be at making choices,” she said. “If people make smart choices with their income and benefits, it sets the foundation for building financial confidence.”

To instill financial confidence in a larger audience, Harvey and Ameriprise Financial offer a financial wellness benefit program for companies. From small businesses with less than 10 employees to large nationwide companies with hundreds, Harvey works with a variety of Gainesville-based companies to help employees achieve more with their finances.

“People with a comprehensive financial plan are nearly twice as likely to feel very confident about managing their money, their savings and their future,” she said.

By teaming up directly with employers, Harvey is able to simultaneously help employers and employees alleviate any confusion regarding incentives and benefits, including health and life insurance, retirement plans, employee stock offerings and deferred compensation.

Employers may feel that their companies’ benefits are underutilized and want to ensure that their employees take advantage of what’s offered. Employees often need help to make the most of their benefits and can avoid making financial mistakes with the right information and advice.

“Many times, employees just don’t understand how certain benefits may fit into their lifestyle,” Harvey said.

Along with on-site events like educational seminars, one-on-one consultations, and informal lunch and learns, the program offers unique planning tools and resources to make company-offered benefits even more valuable.

“It’s a win-win — the benefits offered by the employer are understood and utilized at higher rates and employees are making smart choices that will ultimately improve their lives,” she said.

From retirement and financial planning to tax-planning strategies, job transitioning and saving for higher education, Harvey covers a wide variety of topics based on employees’ specific needs. The program is designed to help people plan from wherever they are — whether they’re already on their way or just getting started.

“I work with people from all stages of life,” she said. “It’s never too early or too late to start financial planning.”

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