Written by: Spencer Salvador
Working with a financial advisor is an important key to your financial success. Here are five tips for getting the best from your advisor:
1. Figure out what you’re looking for in an advisor.
Ask yourself what kind of relationship you’re hoping for or what you need from your advisor. Some individuals want to be hands-off with their financial plan and leave much of the decision making and execution to the advisor. Others want to be more involved in their financial plan.
Often the former just don’t have the time, interest, or confidence to take the necessary actions to set their plan in motion. The latter may be looking for someone to bounce ideas off and then follow through on action items themselves. Make sure you and your advisor are on the same page with how involved you want them to be.
2. Be prepared with the necessary information.
Without providing your advisor with adequate information pertaining to certain aspects of your financial plan, you’ll receive very general and surface level advice. Your advisor will likely ask for specifics regarding your income, taxes, current assets, debts, employer benefits, and insurances, among others. Make sure any time you’re seeking advice on a topic to provide your advisor with as much detail as you can and follow up in a timely manner with any additional information they may request from you.
3. Outline and review your short and long-term goals.
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” —Bill Copeland
A financial advisor’s responsibility is to help you reach your financial goals. Take time reflecting on what you’re hoping to accomplish moving forward. Don’t worry if you can foresee your goals changing over time- almost everyone’s change at some point. Your financial advisor will help you adjust your financial plan to accommodate those changes.
4. Layout your agenda from the beginning, because it might be different than what your advisor’s agenda is.
If you have an appointment scheduled with your advisor, write down what you’re hoping to cover during the meeting or specific questions you have for your advisor. Even better, send your advisor a list of topics or questions in advance of the meeting. It’s easy to forget things you wanted to talk about once you sit down with them and start discussing the details of the trip you took over the Summer, or the lack of sleep you’re getting with your newborn baby.
5. Be honest and be yourself.
Similar to how you shouldn’t lie to or withhold information from your doctor about your health, the same applies to your financial advisor about your financial situation. Whether you’re not sharing out of fear or embarrassment, or because it doesn’t seem important, there can be consequences for not being upfront. If you don’t tell your advisor everything, they may not be able to help you in their full capacity.
Also, don’t be afraid to be yourself around your financial advisor. This provides your advisor insight into who you are as a person and what is truly important to you. It also makes meetings and interactions genuine and more fun for all parties involved.