How to Prepare for a Meeting With Your Adviser

Meeting with a financial adviser for the first time? Congratulations on taking a huge first step to financial security!

Not everyone has the guts to meet with a financial adviser and seek professional help. And those who do are actually more confident that they will be able to meet their financial goals than those who choose to neglect the professional services of a financial adviser—a study conducted by the Ramsey Solutions found.

Before we go into the preparation part of this article, let us first discuss what a financial adviser is.

What is a financial adviser?

A financial adviser is a qualified financial professional. They have the necessary licenses and certifications required by the law to provide professional services to the public. They have the knowledge, skills, and experience in managing wealth so you can achieve your dreams and goals for the future.

What should I do before meeting a financial adviser?

The things that you need to do differs slightly when you are single or married. If you are a married person, the first thing that you need to do is to sit down with your spouse and talk about the future. Determine your future goals together and determine your most immediate goal so you can tackle it first. Make sure that your goals and dreams are aligned with each other to avoid misunderstandings and failed goals.

If you are a single person, you still need to sit down with someone you can trust like your parents, relatives, or a person that you deeply trust the most. Communicate with them your goals and make sure to ask for any feedback so you will only communicate goals that actually make sense with your adviser.

You need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my top three long-term goals?
  • What is my number one priority in my top three goals?
  • For single people: Will I settle down with someone someday?
  • For married people: How will I pay for my kids' education? Where will I send them to college? How much will it cost me at that time?
  • When would I like to retire?
  • What will retirement look like? Would I want to still work during retirement or just enjoy life and the fruits of my hard work?
  • Will I need a life insurance? If so, who are my beneficiaries and how much will I need?
  • Am I truly ready to commit and dedicate my life to managing my finances well?

What should I bring when meeting with a financial adviser?

When meeting with a financial adviser, you need to make sure that you will bring all of the things that will help your adviser determine your current financial standing. It is next to impossible for an adviser to help you achieve your future financial goals without knowing where you stand financially.

Here are the things that you should bring:

  • A list of your income and expenses.
  • A list of your current savings and investments if any.
  • A portion of your money that you are willing to invest in case you've decided to start with an investment plan immediately after your financial planning meeting.

Of course, you won't invest in something that you don't understand. And more often than not, a first meeting will only uncover some questions that you haven't thought about for your future. But if the meeting will go smoothly and your adviser has developed a good financial plan and explained all details that you need to know, and if you are ready to invest right away, then taking advantage of time will enable you to reach your goals faster.

What questions will a financial adviser ask me?

A good financial adviser will always determine your current financial standing and where you want to go in the future. These are a few questions that your financial adviser should ask you in your first meeting:

  • What are your top three financial goals?
  • What's the goal that you want to achieve first?
  • What is your dream lifestyle in the future?

What should I expect with my first meeting with a financial adviser and what questions should I ask?

When meeting with an adviser for the first time, you need to make sure that you will answer all of the following questions yourself:

  • Is the adviser analyzing my current financial standing?
  • Is the adviser truly interested in helping me or just closing a sale?
  • Is the adviser taking down notes for later review?
  • Is the adviser proposing a plan that is easy to implement, understand, and is it practical?
  • Is the adviser proposing an investment vehicle that will actually help me achieve my dreams on time and within my budget?
  • Is the adviser showing signs that he has the experience, not just the knowledge when it comes to handling wealth? Does the adviser have a car? (if you are meeting outside an office). Does the adviser have a nice office (if you are meeting in the adviser's office) Does the adviser present himself or herself professionally? Does the adviser act and speak professionally? 

These questions will help you determine whether or not he or she is the right financial adviser for you.

Here are the questions that you should ask your financial adviser:

  • The services that he or she provides.
  • How they will communicate with you after the first meeting.
  • How they will track and evaluate your investment performance.
  • How they manage their own finances. Do they have their own business? Do they have their own house? Do they have their own cars? Do they have savings and investments?
  • How they will get paid.

These questions seem to be personal. But the idea of getting to know your financial adviser is important because you need to trust someone who practices what he or she preaches. The last thing that you want to do is to work with an adviser who doesn't know how to handle their own finances.

After the meeting, what's next?

After your first meeting with your financial adviser and after you've decided to work with him or her, you should expect that your second meeting will be more tactical and more of a coaching style of meetings. The goal is to make the necessary changes that you need to make in order for you to achieve your goals and handle your money well.

If you haven't agreed on any investment vehicles or plans that your financial adviser suggested, then your next meetings will be more likely about taking an investment plan that will help you reach your goals.

You should also expect that you and your adviser will set up a regular check or revision for your financial plan to see if the plan is still relevant and if the investment is performing as expected or not.

What if I feel that I'm already behind the planning and preparing phase of my life?

Financial advisers are here to help, not to judge you with your past money mistakes. A good financial adviser will always find a way to help a client who is in need of a professional service. Instead of feeling ashamed or afraid, be brave and approach a financial adviser today so you can get the professional help that you deserve.

The first meeting with your financial adviser is always important because this is the phase where you get to understand yourself more when it comes to how you handle your money and what goals you want to achieve in the future. This is also a great chance for you to determine if the financial adviser that you are meeting with is the right one for you.

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