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Sarah Wiersma, a certified financial planner with Ameriprise Financial, recently opened an office in downtown Columbus.

Sarah Wiersma is embarking on a new career path, hoping to help Columbus area residents reach their financial goals.

Wiersma, a financial advisor, opened an Ameriprise Financial office at 122 W. James St. May 11. Wiersma might be a familiar face to Columbus residents. She spent the past eight years as a financial advisor at Farmers and Merchants Union Bank, at its downtown location. Wiersma, however, felt the opportunity was right to move on and start her own advising firm. She’s also excited to open a new business in the city’s downtown.

“My goal was always to start my own business,” Wiersma said. “The opportunity came up to team up with a group in Madison. I was told, ‘this is your business, run it how you want, but we’re here to support you.’”

Wiersma and her husband, Joe, recently started a family and knew they wanted to plant roots in Columbus. She attends training in Madison one day a week, but works mostly out of her Columbus office.

“I knew this is where I want to be; I want to help people in this market,” Wiersma said. “Also being downtown kind of helps revive it a little bit, so you’re not seeing empty storefronts, you’re starting to see business pick up a little bit.”

When she was looking for space to start her business, Wiersma had a choice between the downtown location and a spot on the outskirts of Columbus. She chose her current location to have more visibility and bring a spark to the city’s struggling downtown corridor. In addition, her office at 122 W. James Street has enough room for future expansion.

“This happened to be the perfect spot for what I need; for now when it’s just me here to down the road when I hopefully bring on an assistant in a year or two,” Wiersma said. “Maybe I can bring on another advisor. So there is room to expand if I ever wanted to.”

Wiersma, who grew up in Friesland, graduated from UW-Whitewater with a finance degree in 2009. She embarked on a career in investments with a passion to help people reach financial health and well-being. In 2014, Wiersma earned her certified planner designation certificate, adding to her credentials in financial planning.

“One of the reasons I chose Ameriprise Financial was because of the support they can offer,” she said.

Wiersma said it’s important for people to see their entire financial picture. Dealing with personal finances can be frustrating and confusing, but Wiersma believes her experience can lead clients on a stable financial path.

“By looking at your entire financial picture, I can maybe pick up on a few things and give you some options,” Wiersma said.

Wiersma often gets questions about retirement as clients wonder if they’re saving enough to enjoy their golden years. She said younger clients often have concerns about Social Security and whether it will remain solvent when they’re ready to retire. Wiersma also fields questions about IRA investments, saving for college and how to wisely invest large amounts of savings to see the best potential growth.

“Even if you’re planning for a vacation home, a second home, a large trip, I can help you by looking at all that,” Wiersma said. “A lot of questions are based around retirement, but there are also a lot of other things people want to plan for too.”

Wiersma, a Cambria-Friesland High School graduate, has always been attracted to numbers. She excelled in math through high school and college and knew she wanted to pursue a career in finance. Wiersma initially went into the insurance field, but felt the lure of investments.

“Math is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is mine,” she said.

Looking forward, Wiersma’s main goal is helping people in all walks of life reach financial stability.

“I just want to continue to help with all their financial needs,” Wiersma said.

When she isn’t working, Wiersma enjoys spending time with her husband, Joe, and Dean, their eight-month-old son. Her computer screensaver features a photo of a very happy Dean flashing a bright, wide smile. She met Joe in high school and the couple enjoys the pace of small town life.

“When we looked at places to live after we got married, Columbus was definitely our choice,” Wiersma said. “We wanted a town big enough that there were places to go but with a school district with more opportunities.”

For more information, contact Wiersma at 920-350-0554 or send email to

Contact Kevin Damask at 608-963-7323 or on Twitter @kdamask