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Meeting With a Financial Advisor: Things to Know

Author Bio
Steven Neeley, CFP®

is a retirement planning expert and financial advisor with Fortress Capital Advisors, a fee-only, fiduciary registered investment advisor offering retirement planning and wealth management services in the State of Indiana and other jurisdictions where registered or exempted. Main office: 418 Oak Dr., Carmel, IN 46032. Tel: (317) 210-3727.

Steven Neeley, CFP®

is a retirement planning expert and financial advisor with Fortress Capital Advisors, a fee-only, fiduciary registered investment advisor offering retirement planning and wealth management services in the State of Indiana and other jurisdictions where registered or exempted. Main office: 418 Oak Dr., Carmel, IN 46032. Tel: (317) 210-3727.

Table of Contents

A person using a calculator on top of a desk.
A financial advisor is a highly trained professional who uses their financial expertise to help clients make informed decisions about their money. This role spans multiple areas of finance, including budgeting, investing, tax planning, retirement, and insurance. They typically hold industry certifications like Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), which involve rigorous coursework and adherence to a strict ethical standard. They might work independently or be part of a larger organization, such as a brokerage firm, bank, or financial advisory company.

Meeting With a Financial Advisor: Checklist

Preparing for your first meeting with a financial advisor might seem daunting, but breaking it down into a few key areas can help you approach the meeting with confidence. Here is a financial advisor meeting checklist to get you started:

1. List Assets and Liabilities

Understanding your financial standing begins with assessing your assets and liabilities. Assets include everything you own that has value, such as real estate, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement accounts, and savings. Liabilities, on the other hand, represent everything you owe, such as mortgages, student loans, car loans, and credit card debt. Providing a comprehensive list of both your assets and liabilities will give the advisor an accurate snapshot of your current financial status.

2. Outline Income and Expenses

The next step is to provide a detailed overview of your income and expenses. This includes your salary, bonuses, rental income, dividends, and any other sources of income. Your expenses could range from basic living expenses like housing, food, and transportation, to discretionary spending like vacations and entertainment. This information will give the advisor insight into your cash flow, crucial for making investment and saving decisions.

3. Write Down Goals

What do you want to achieve with your finances? Are you aiming to buy a house, start a business, retire comfortably, or leave a legacy for your children? Write down both your short and long-term financial goals. Your advisor will use these goals as a foundation to tailor a financial plan that suits your needs.

4. Consider Needs

Think about your financial needs, including insurance, estate planning, tax planning, and retirement planning. Make sure to communicate these to your advisor as they play an important role in shaping your financial strategy.

5. Understand Financial Strengths and Weaknesses

An honest self-assessment of your financial strengths and weaknesses will be highly beneficial. Do you have a strong investment portfolio but a high level of debt? Are you a high-income earner but struggle with budgeting and saving? Sharing these details with your financial advisor can help them understand where to focus their efforts.

6. Get Financial Documents in Order

In addition to the aforementioned details, it’s also important to bring relevant financial documents to the meeting. These could include tax returns, pay stubs, investment account statements, insurance policies, wills, trusts, and any other relevant financial documentation. This data will enable your advisor to have a clear and accurate understanding of your financial situation.

7. Prepare a List of Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

Prepare a list of questions to ask your financial advisor at the first meeting. This could include queries about their qualifications, experience, investment philosophy, and how they charge for their services. You might also want to ask specific questions related to your financial goals or concerns. This discussion will not only help you gauge the advisor’s suitability but also help them understand your financial expectations.

Conclusion

Meeting with a financial advisor for the first time can be a game-changing step towards achieving your financial goals. By following this checklist and preparing adequately, you can make the most of this pivotal meeting. Remember, a financial advisor is not just there to provide advice; they’re there to help guide your financial journey according to your goals, needs, and circumstances. Your first meeting sets the tone for this journey, so take the time to prepare and approach it with confidence.

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