Using the Asset and Health Dynamics among the Oldest Old (AHEAD), this study presents the first longitudinal results analyzing factors associated with getting and dropping a financial advisor. We find that quantitative as well as qualitative factors are significant when evaluating the value of professional financial advice. Getting a financial advisor was positively associated with becoming a widow(er), asking family members for assistance with financial decisions, seeking professional help for emotional problems, and experiencing increases in income and net worth. Among single and widowed respondents, experiencing significant cognitive decline also increases the likelihood of getting a financial advisor. Dropping a financial advisor was negatively associated with becoming a new widow(er), getting married, and experiencing an increase in net worth. No longer involving family members in financial decisions was strongly related to dropping a financial advisor. We discuss implications for practitioners relevant to both client acquisition and client retention.

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