The team at the new Edward Jones office on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in the Shoppes of Wesley Chapel includes (l.-r.) William Morales, Jimmy Tovar, office administrator Karn Weigel, Natalie Matos, office admin Cathy Giacinto, Paul Eliot & Scott Peterson. (Photos by Charmaine George)

The financial world is, for many, more precarious than ever these days.

Jobs and benefits are in flux, the stock market is all over the place, inflation is leaving a mark and the economy is either booming or teetering on destruction, depending upon who you ask.

Trying to decide how to shield your savings and investments from this potential storm isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. That’s why, when financial advisor William Morales is asked for one piece of advice, it’s this: come see us at Edward Jones.

“It doesn’t cost you anything, other than time,” says Morales, referring to Edward Jones’ free consultation. “That’s really it. That hour you sit down and talk with an Edward Jones advisor, you’ll get answers to questions you have and uncover questions that you never thought of yourself.”

At Edward Jones, a handful of financial advisors — Morales, Paul Elliott, Natalie Matos, Scott Peterson and Jimmy Tovar — are here to guide you from their new office on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd., which opened earlier this year in the Shoppes of Wesley Chapel across BBD from AdventHealth Wesley Chapel. The new office’s Grand Opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony were held on May 6.

Edward Jones offers a wide range of financial services, advising clients on retirement and college savings, business plans, wealth strategies and investments, life, long-term care and disability insurance, annuities and credit.

“We do everything,” Morales said. “The core of what we do is planning. The investments, that hasn’t changed, but it’s all about how we’re connecting with clients and understanding what their goals are…we know there’s a lot of people out there who should be talking to us that aren’t, so making sure we have a presence in our community is a big part of why things are moving differently.”

Morales has had his office in Wesley Chapel for years and has lived here since 1998, but now, sharing a larger workspace with other advisors with different levels of experience, different backgrounds and from different places, is a boon to clients.

“At the end of the day, it’s what can we bring to the client experience?,” says Elliott, who has been with Edward Jones since 2012. “In a single office, maybe I have an idea I want to run by someone. I tell the client I’ll make a phone call or check with an email, to ask what do you think? That’s very different from calling one of the other advisors in the office and getting maybe a different point of view. I think that’s good for the client.”

While there are many services offered, the most common questions are about retirement, by those already retired or those just getting there.

At Edward Jones, the approach is to build a relationship with clients before money and investments are even discussed.

That’s because instead of promising what they can do for you, at Edward Jones, the advisors are more interested in what you see when you look into the future.

“What are you trying to accomplish?,” Matos says is often the first question. Once a client has laid out their own plan, the investments to get them there act as the vehicle.”

Peterson, a University of Pittsburgh graduate who has worked in financial services for more than a dozen years, says he will ask clients to close their eyes and describe how retirement might look.

“Where are you, who is with you, what are you doing and what are your plans for that day?, “ he says. “Tell me about it,” and, whether you are at the beach or in the mountains or babysitting your grandkids in another state, “there is no wrong answer. You tell me what you want it to look like, and then we’ll go from there.”

That is a message shared by every Edward Jones advisor. 

“When people ask what I do, my break-the-ice answer is I make dreams come true,” says Morales, smiling. “I’m kind of joking but I’m not, because it is really what I do. We spend a lot of time trying to uncover what someone’s goals are, and what their vision of the future is, and then we try to build a personal plan towards that goal. Everything we do revolves around the client’s needs and goals.”

And, everyone is different. Some clients have grand plans for retirement, others just want to make sure they have enough to live well, and there are thousands of points in between.

Every answer is different as well, depending upon the current situation of the client. The team at Edward Jones says they don’t shy away from the tough conversations, when a client’s vision of retirement is clouded by some current realities. 

“It’s powerful to tell a client, ‘I know you want to retire at this age but, according to the models, it’s not going to work…BUT, if we tweak this and change this up this look what happens,” says Tovar, a Wesley Chapel resident since 2003. “This is where we come in.”

Your Financial ‘Toolbox’

Edward Jones has a variety of answers for each situation.

“We’re not a one-trick pony,” Elliott says. “I like to think of myself as a contractor and I have a toolbox and no bias for any of my tools. I sit down with my clients like an architect and ask what are we going to build? If I only get to use my hammer that day, then that’s fine.”

And, because Edward Jones has no proprietary products or services, Peterson says there is no incentive to use a tool that may not be the best one. “The end result is the only thing that matters to us.”

That’s important to retirees and pre-retirees, who have a number of heady concerns when it comes to their respective futures. Things like health care costs (the No. 1 concern, according to most surveys), taxes, savings and investments are important issues. So, the toolbox has to be big.

At Edward Jones, financial advisors have Series 7 and Series 66 securities registrations, and many of them have acquired further credentials, including the CFP (Certified Financial Planner), AAMS (Accredited Asset Management Specialist), CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor), ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant) and state insurance licenses, according to its website.

That level of service, says Matos, is why so many families keep coming back. She says generations of families have stuck with her over the years, and she hopes to build a similar long-lasting clientele in Wesley Chapel at Edward Jones.

“We care about people, we care about the community and that’s why we’re here,” says Matos, a University of South Florida graduate who has worked in the financial industry for 28 years.

“That’s the bottom line.”

Edward Jones is located at 2653 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Suite 120, in the Shoppes of Wesley Chapel. The new office’s hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. , and 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. on Friday. For more information, call (813) 991-7034 or visit EdwardJones.com.

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