Your First Meeting with a Financial Advisor: What to Expect
Opening up to a stranger isn’t always easy, especially when the information you need to discuss is intensely personal. For example, it may feel uncomfortable to disclose certain symptoms or habits to a new doctor, or to confide in a new friend or acquaintance for fear of being judged. But as with personal relationships, trust is the foundation for successful professional relationships. And when it comes to creating a trusted relationship with your financial advisor, it’s important to share a full picture of your financial situation – warts and all. That way, you have a better chance of receiving advice that’s accurate, relevant, and actionable.
Your first meeting with a fiduciary financial advisor is an opportunity to not only share financial information, but it also helps set the stage for ongoing communication. Consider it a deep “getting to know you” session for your journey toward financial well-being.
Your advisor may ask you to bring certain documents to your first meeting. The purpose of this request is to help your advisor better understand your starting point. Allowing your advisor to review these documents may help them identify gaps in your financial picture, discover opportunities to lower fees, or find ways to obtain greater diversification in your portfolio.
Money likely won’t be the only topic you discuss with your advisor. That’s because the better your advisor knows you, the better they can understand where to best support you, what your non-financial priorities are, and how those may cause you to react in a volatile market, an emergency with a loved one, or an opportunity in your field. Broadly, here are some examples of personal questions you might encounter in your first meeting:
Well-being and Values:
- What are your priorities in life?
- How important are those areas of your life and how well do you feel you are addressing them?
- What are the values that are important to you that are driving your plan?
- Tell me about some of your top accomplishments.
- What are your professional goals?
- What goals or successes do you see for your children, parents, spouse/significant other?
- Describe how you see yourself participating financially in the world. (This could involve a favorite cause or charity.)
- What family relationships are most important to you?
- Do you support any religious causes or schools? In what way?
- How important are your relationships in your community to you?
- How important are your relationships with coworkers?
- What types of sports/TV/movies/books do you prefer?
- What is your health and fitness regime?
- What are your hobbies?
In addition to financial and personal questions, you may receive questions about the other advisors you work with, how you prefer to communicate, and how often you like to check your accounts.
You can help your advisor be more effective on your behalf if you take the time to consider your answers to these questions. If you haven’t thought about them before, answering questions like these may seem taxing – both from a time and emotional perspective. However, gaining clarity about what is important to you can impact your financial well-being.
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. A professional advisor shouldn’t judge you for your philosophy on life, your approach to managing money, your personal interests, or your relationships. The goal is to help you be successful on your terms.
This is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as personalized investment or financial advice. Please consult your investment and financial professional(s) regarding your unique situation.