If you decide to seek financial advice and after making your first appointment, you'll have some tasks to attend to. If you're married or in a relationship, you need to make time to discuss any future aspirations with your partner. For instance, how do you see your desired retirement?
A clear set of common goals makes it easier to choose the right path. The adviser might even ask you to fill in a client fact find beforehand. However, this usually happens at the first meeting.
Here are some key questions to ask yourself before meeting with a financial adviser:
Did you know?
A good adviser will ask open questions, for instance:
The reason for these open-ended questions is that the adviser wants to get an accurate picture about your dreams and concerns, and if there is an opportunity to build a working relationship.
Closed questions such as "Do you have any investments?" can be answered "yes" or "no" and do not encourage the flow of information or enlighten the adviser about what you want from the financial planning process.
Some people may find it difficult to articulate their financial goals. It can also be hard for an adviser to pick up on inferences or subtleties regarding what you want, so they will need some solid information about your goals and wishes, including any possible barriers to achieving them.
To get things underway, you may need to bring the following items to the first meeting:
It is likely that an adviser will want you to prepare a budget before the first meeting. This is for good reason.
A budget should provide accurate information on what you earn, spend and save within a particular time period. It gives your adviser a way to determine how much you could save and invest in relation to your goals, priorities and lifestyle and whether any fine-tuning or more significant attention is needed.
A budget can also highlight fixed and variable expenses. For instance, an electricity bill is a fixed expense, while discretionary spending, such as going to a restaurant, is a variable expense.
A budget may give you a few insights, or surprises, and provide a reality check about your spending patterns. For instance, if you buy two takeaway coffees each day, this can add up to well over $2000 per year.
Prior to seeing a financial adviser, think carefully about the goals you want to achieve. It makes things easier for you and the adviser if you are on the same wavelength. Remember, it's not the adviser in control of the meeting, it's you.
Some popular financial or lifestyle goals include:
|Questions to ask a financial adviser|
|How do financial advisers maintain their competency?|