There are a wide variety of financial advisors. They range from different levels of experience, to completely different business models. Whether you're saving for retirement or preparing an estate strategy or just trying to save for your first home, a financial advisor can be of help to you. When selecting an advisor and establishing a relationship, it is important to ask questions and let them know of any expectations you have.
What to expect in your first meeting:
- It’s not just about money. Each advisor will have their own unique approach to the first meeting, but it should never revolve solely on how much you have to invest. A good advisor will want to get to know you and your family to understand what is important to you. They will want to learn about your goals and also how risk averse you are.
- They should cater to your needs. A good advisor will also establish a communication and portfolio review schedule, when you should expect statements, and also ask if that schedule works for you. They should make it convenient for you to meet with them in person or over the phone if you prefer.
- How are they going to help you? In your first meeting, your advisor should clearly explain their value proposition, investment process, and how they get paid. Your advisor will outline their services, their investment philosophy, and how they will measure the performance of your portfolio. Not only should you ask about your advisor's professional background and experience, but you should also ask about their current life experiences for frame-of-reference. Knowing this information will help you decide if the advisor will understand your needs. Remember that you and your financial advisor are in this together and partnering with an advisor who has been through similar experiences as you may help you relate and trust their advice that much more.
What to bring to your first meeting:
- Documentation. You should be prepared to bring documentation of all your current investment portfolios and a balance sheet of your expenses and income (don’t worry if you don’t have a balance sheet, the advisor can help you create one). The more information you bring in, the better that initial consultation will go. Some paperwork you might bring with you may include:
- IRA, 401(k), and other investment plan statements
- Mortgages, car loans, and other debt statements
- Pay stubs for you and/or your spouse
- Your most recent tax return
- Your monthly budget
- Family Details. In addition to your financial documents, the financial advisor will need to know about the basic details of your family; how many people are in the household, the employment status of adults in the home, upcoming life changes, anything that may affect your finances in both the short and long-term future. The more you tell them, the more they will be able to help you plan for any major life changes you can expect to go through.
Don’t expect to leave the first meeting with a full new investment portfolio. Generally speaking, during your initial consultation, you'll spend most of the time learning about the financial advisor and the investment firm and set up plans for future communications.
What to expect in your ongoing relationship:
- Use their experience. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your financial advisor is only limited to helping you in investment planning. A qualified and experienced wealth manager can help you with your total financial well-being and provide you with a combination of responsible stewardship and innovative planning ideas for all areas of your financial life. They will be a long-term partner and work with you to pursue your financial goals.
- Keep them informed. Once you’ve chosen to partner with an advisor, you will have access to all of their experience and additional resources to help you not only pursue your goals, but also to adjust those goals accordingly if your priorities shift. After all, planning, like life itself, is an ongoing process that's constantly changing. If you need to establish a trust, start a new business, or have a large expense coming up, let your advisor know so they can partner with you on an appropriate strategy to fit your needs.
- How do they make you feel? When you meet with your advisor, you should leave with some new insights about your financial future and a gained sense of confidence that you’re heading in the right direction. Are you getting the attention you need and expected? It is important you feel comfortable with who you interact with at their office.
Brentwood Financial Advisors is here to help you with your financial needs. Our range of services and experienced advisors are dedicated to help you pursue your financial goals and attain your desired future.Contact us today to review your financial goals.