Financial planning is a two-way street. One of the most common misconceptions about the financial planning process is that the planner effectively prescribes a plan for you to follow; in reality, it’s more like a dialogue, where you express your goals and wishes, your financial planner educates you on some available options, and you work together to create a blueprint.
As such, as you prepare to meet with your financial planner, it’s important to make the right preparations—ensuring that you’re ready to hold up your end of the conversation!
In this post, we’ll outline just a few simple steps you can take to make meetings with your financial planner smoother and more productive.
How to Plan for a Meeting with Your Financial Planner
- Create a list of your goals.
One of the most important ways you can prepare for the meeting is to create a list of your financial goals; then, when talking with your planner, you can clearly articulate your priorities. Some specific considerations include:
- At what age would you and your spouse like to retire?
- What kind of retirement lifestyle do you envision?
- Do you have children for whom you’d like to set aside a college tuition fund?
- Are you saving for major purchases, such as making a down payment on a home?
- What kinds of debts do you have? Is paying off those debts an urgent priority?
- Do you have a rainy day fund set aside for something like unexpected auto repairs?
- Write down your questions.
Your financial planner is a subject-matter expert in things like investment and risk mitigation—so if you have technical questions about your financial plan, feel free to ask! We recommend writing them down ahead of time so that you don’t forget anything. Some common questions include:
- What’s my current financial situation?
- To meet my investment goals, should we move into either a more or less conservative investment strategy?
- Should I reconsider the timing of my retirement?
- Does the financial plan need to be amended to account for recent life changes (like having a baby, having a grandchild, marriage, divorce, etc.)?
- Is my investment portfolio properly diversified?
- Gather documents.
Finally, it’s important to make sure that you and your financial planner are working off the same information—and that means bringing key documents that may be relevant to your financial situation. Some examples:
- Recent statements from your retirement accounts
- Information about any other investments you have
- Pay stubs or other records of your compensation
- Expense statements—especially statements related to loans, your mortgage, credit cards, etc.
- Estate planning information, including life insurance policies
Be Prepared for Your Next Financial Planning Meeting
Talking with your financial planner should be an empowering experience—and it will be all the more productive if you arrive fully prepared. These basic steps will point you in that direction.
To schedule a time to talk with your Stonepath Wealth Management financial planner, please reach out to us at your next opportunity.