What doctors are for your physical/mental health, advisors are for your financial health. What do you do before you visit a doctor? Understand your condition, prepare for all the questions that the doctor would ask, ensure all your test reports/medical history documents are in order and so on. Preparation is a must even before you visit a financial doctor. Here’s a comprehensive retirement checklist that will help you prepare for a meeting with your financial advisor.
[Recommended Read : Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor]
Table of Contents
7 Things to do to prepare for your first Financial Advisor meeting
- List your assets and liabilities
- Outline your income and expenses
- Write down your goals
- Consider the needs of your family
- Understand your financial strengths and weaknesses
- Get your financial documents in order
- Prepare a list of questions to ask your advisor
1. List your assets and liabilities
You approach a financial advisor with a view to bettering your financial life. For a better financial state, you first need to understand your current financial state. Make a list of all your assets – Cash, gold, investments, property, etc. and quantify them. Also, don’t forget to list down your liabilities. Create your debt profile by making a note of all your debts and prioritising them. A clearer picture of your assets and liabilities will help your advisor craft a suitable plan for you.
2. Outline your income and expenses
To be able to discuss your finances with your financial advisor, it is imperative to have an idea of all your sources of income and expenses. It is always better to write these down so that you don’t miss adding petty expenses or any small income. Ensure you don’t add expected sources of income. If things don’t go as planned, you might end up facing a money crunch. On the other hand, it is advisable to take expected expenses into consideration. If you expend, you do it from the provision you already made, and if you don’t, you save that money.
3. Write down your goals
By now you understand how much you own and owe. The next step is to make a note of all your goals. It could be as small as buying a phone or as big as buying a plush penthouse. A financial advisor can help you turn your dreams into reality, provided you are clear about them. Before meeting your advisor, ensure you have set specific and well-defined goals. Think of all the possible goal-related questions that your advisor can ask you and prepare for answering them.
4. Consider the needs of your family
A sound financial plan always has room for the needs of the family members. You would possibly not want to buy a phone for yourself if you know that you have an ailing father who needs money for his medical expenses. Thus, it is important to understand the needs and requirements of your family members before meeting your financial advisor.
5. Understand your financial strengths and weaknesses
Your meeting with your financial advisor can turn out to be productive only if you apprise them of your financial state. While having an account of your assets, liabilities, income, and expenses is good, you must also be well aware of your financial strengths and weaknesses. Your advisor can then focus on leveraging your strengths and tackling your weaknesses rather than detecting them. Financial strengths can include the ability to save regularly, the dedication to stick to your personal finance budget, etc. Habits such as irrational spending, digging into savings for every little thing, etc. can be termed as financial weaknesses.
6. Get your financial documents in order
To err is human, to forget is also human. You may not remember everything about your finances accurately. Thus, it is important that you have all your financial documents at one place before meeting your financial advisor. These include the latest statements for 401(k), 529 savings plan, etc.; information about your investments; documents related to estate planning namely, your will, life insurance, etc.; your tax records and so on.
7. Prepare a list of questions to ask your advisor
Last but definitely not least, give words to your doubts and queries and write them down. Better yet, you can email the list of questions to your advisor before your meeting with them. This way, you are far more prepared and structured, which, in turn, becomes a good start. The questions need not just be about your finances; you can even ask them about the services they will be offering to you, about the payments and other terms of engagement, about the future course of action, etc.
To sum it up
Much like doctors, financial advisors can help you be at ease, provided you convey your problems to them without any ambiguity. And, this is possible only if you prepare well for the meeting with them.
Want to better your financial health? Approach financial advisors today! With their expertise and experience, they can prescribe just the right financial doses for your finances.