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In the interview below, Linda Shelby, a Merrill Edge Executive, sits down with Brendan Byrnes to discuss the most recent Bank of America Merrill Edge Report. The report is a semiannual study that puts the behaviors of mass affluent consumers into perspective. At nearly 28 million households in the United States alone, understanding the sort of massive trends that affect these individuals can have powerful implications on your investments. Understanding paradigm shifts like those discussed here is a cornerstone of Motley Fool superinvestor David Gardner's own investing strategy, and is critical to his market-thrashing returns. I invite you to learn more about how he discovers his winners, just click here now to read more.

Brendan Byrnes: I think, finally, one problem that people feel -- maybe one of the biggest problems -- is they feel overwhelmed when they're seeking out financial advice. They don't know who to trust, they don't know where to go.

What resources can people use, can they tap into and say, "This is what I need. This is someone I can trust" -- how do they need to go about that, in your opinion?

Linda Shelby: Of course, I think they should go to and get information. Interestingly, especially the Gen-Y-ers, 58% of them are talking to family and friends -- that's where they're drawing their initial advice -- and then consulting with professionals; 83% of them are seeking out professional help.

I think the most important thing is to look for someone that you trust, because that's going to be most important. That's more important than specific products, more important than even a specific strategy, is having someone that really listens to you, understands your needs, understands your risk tolerance, and can help you to design the portfolio that you're going to feel comfortable with, that helps you sleep at night, and also know that you're going to be able to reach those goals.

Brendan: Great. That was a great discussion. Linda Shelby, Merrill Edge Executive, thank you so much for joining us.

Linda: Thank you for having me.

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