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How to Prepare for Your First Financial Advisor Meeting

How to Prepare for Your First Financial Advisor Meeting

| August 15, 2023

You don’t have to own a business or a corporation to see a financial advisor. Just like a lawyer, a doctor, or an insurance agent, a financial advisor can be an important personal consultant. Whether you’re trying to deal with a financial emergency or planning for retirement, a financial advisor can set you on track for success.

That doesn’t mean your initial visit won’t be intimidating. All first meetings can be a little nerve-racking, but a first meeting with a financial advisor might be even more so. You’re about to start a business relationship that will require honesty from both parties. You’re also about to hand over details about how you’ve been handling (or mishandling) money.

With a little preparation, though, you’ll be able to ease your anxiety and have a meaningful first session with a financial advisor. Here are some steps to take.

Research Your Financial Advisor’s Background

The financial advisory business is closely regulated. An advisor is required to make disclosures to clients about their fees, offerings, and pending legal actions, if any. You can perform due diligence beforehand, though.

The BrokerCheck tool from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is a good place to start. It can verify the advisor’s registration with the Securities Exchange Commission. You can also get background on their experience, compliance, and legal status.

If your financial advisor was referred to you, ask your source about their experience. Also, take a quick look at their social media pages for more informal snapshots of the business.

Outline Your Financial Goals

There’s usually a driving reason for meeting with a financial advisor. You may see an emergency coming and want to protect your finances. You may be approaching retirement age and want to investigate plan offerings. Or you may be eyeing a future home or car purchase and want to make sure you can afford it.

Whatever your motivation is, make a checklist of what you want to accomplish with your finances. Use that as a springboard for everything you want to discuss with your financial advisor.

Your goals should be both short- and long-term. Feel free to dream big, but be realistic about your current situation. Consider how much risk you’re willing to take on to obtain your goals. Knowing your intentions at your first meeting will make the agenda easier.

Have Your Financial Records Ready

At some point, your financial advisor will need a full financial statement from you. They may not ask to see everything at your very first consultation, but they eventually will. 

Just in case the advisor does ask for it at the first meeting, you should have copies ready to go. Your financial statement should include the following info and documentation:

  • Income and expenses
  • Assets and liabilities
  • Personal and family net worth
  • Monthly cash flow estimates
  • Financial ties with others, including joint accounts and co-signed loans
  • Any official documentation regarding legal issues or estate planning

Whatever the case, you should have your financial profile prepared in advance.

Write Down What You Want to Ask

You might find it hard to articulate on the spot what you need from your advisor. Knowing what you want to ask beforehand solves that problem.

Think about the issue you’re seeking clarity on the most. If it’s a complex situation, write down each part of it. If it relates to more general financial health, be as specific as you can.

You might be a little surprised at the different topics a financial advisor addresses. Along with financial planning, they can help with investment strategies, risk assessment, estate planning, insurance, taxes, retirement, debt management, and more. Basically, if it’s something that influences your wallet or accounts, it’s worth asking.

Get Ready for a Long-Term Relationship

Your first meeting with a financial advisor shouldn’t be your last. You should prepare for a meaningful, extended partnership. Think of this as an addition to your other personal consultants: your family physician, your lawyer, and even your auto mechanic. 

With this approach, you’ll always have a bigger picture in mind. Along the way, you’ll both discover specific steps and make definitive plans for getting your finances where you need them.

Contact Good Life in Morehead City for Financial Advice

Are you almost ready to choose a financial advisor? Good Life Financial Advisors in Morehead City can give you the advice and tools you need for personal economic health. Contact our office to set up your first meeting to start you on a path to prosperity.