Meeting with a financial advisor for the first time can feel a little like working with a personal trainer. You might have some trepidation, but it becomes progressively easier as you adjust to the process. Here are some tips to help you get the most of your first meeting.
Do your homework
Wondering how to find a good financial advisor? Like any important decision, it takes some research to find the best option for your circumstances.
Before you schedule a meeting with a financial advisor, take some time to compare various advisors to see who best fits your needs. Do you have questions about your investment portfolio? Do you need help with retirement planning? Are you worried about budgeting? Make sure the advisor specializes in your specific concerns. Many will answer questions via email before setting up a meeting. Use those answers to help form your decision.
Information an advisor will need
It is strong likelihood that an advisor will need to know:
- Your checking, savings, and retirement account balances
- Your total debt – including mortgage, auto loans, personal loans and more
- Your investments, any pensions or stock options, company match to retirement plan contributions
- Your saving goals
Take time before your meeting to gather questions. Be sure to take notes. Also, bring statements from your banks, investments, insurance policies since your advisor will want to know every financial aspect.
Questions to ask
During you initial meeting, ask the financial advisor about how they’re compensated. Some will deduct a percentage, typically 1% a year, of the amount of money you let them manage. While others may receive a commission for selling you certain investments. It’s important to know how they’re paid, since it helps shape their advice.
Be sure to ask about specific services they provide. You want to make sure they can tackle the issues you may have.
The key to a productive meeting? If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. A good financial advisor won’t judge you for posing questions or for revealing unflattering details about your financial situation.
Whether your life stays the same or changes drastically, it helps to meet with your financial advisor at least once a year. Be sure ask about anything that may have cropped up since your last meeting – financial changes, market downturns or life events.