What to Expect at Your First Appointment with a Financial Adviser
The knowledge and skills you gain by working with a financial adviser can set you up to make the most of your financial circumstances. Far too often, people fail to appreciate that savvy financial management can make their lives easier, regardless of their income level. For many, working with a financial adviser is the key to unlock that ability. Like any significant decision, it can be a daunting to engage with an adviser. But knowing what to expect and how to prepare for it can ensure a seamless process which provides as much benefit as possible.
What to Bring
A financial adviser needs to familiarise themselves with you, your circumstances and your objectives in order to provide their best assistance. An adviser will need information on:
- Personal details – age, vocation, relationship status, etc.;
- Assets – including property, vehicles, savings and investments;
- Income – from all sources, including occupational, investments and benefits;
- Tax Return or Pay Slip – most recent tax return or pay slip;
- Superannuation – most recent statement;
- Tax File Number;
- Expenses – on a regular schedule (think monthly or weekly);
- Insurance – different policies and level of coverage;
- Estate plans – Wills, Power of Attorney, etc.; and
- Personal lawyer and accountant.
What to Think About
What are the big goals (financial or otherwise) you’d like to achieve over a period of:
- 1-2 years
- 3-5 years
- 5-10 years
What to Expect
Like any other meeting, it’s good to be prepared when seeing a financial adviser. Throughout your initial interactions, you can expect to discuss the following:
- Scope of your professional relationship – specifically what will and won’t be discussed;
- What information you’ll be given and the timeframe it will take;
- The level of agency you’re giving them to manage and access money and investments; and
- Cost of service and payment options.
After working with a financial planner, you should review the ‘Statement of Advice’ you have been given. Your assessment should determine the suitability of the advice given to your financial circumstances and objectives. It’s also important to take time to re-evaluate whether or not the relationship is a productive one. Do this on a regular basis to ensure that the service you pay for remains worthwhile.
What to Look Out For
Just as in any consulting role, some financial advisers will give poor quality advice for one reason or another. Because of this, it’s important to know what to look out for as warning signs of inadequate counsel. Some of the most important things to keep an eye out for include:
- Rushing the process – especially when it comes to investment advice. Remember that your financial adviser should not act like a salesperson.
- No transparency around their payments – there’s a cost associated with most every investment you make. If a financial planner isn’t being transparent about this, something is likely being hidden.
- They want to meet with you alone – this applies only to those who work with a financial adviser in a couple, partnership, etc. If a financial planner is pushing to meet with you without someone else, it most likely means they are trying to hide something.
- They don’t ask about your needs – if they ignore this fundamental aspect of your financial wellbeing, you should look to move on.
- They fail to answer your questions – a financial planner is an expert in their field. If they don’t have the expertise to provide you with assurance, something is probably amiss.
Those who develop strong and trusted relationships with financial adviser can benefit immensely from them. Common sense and objective judgement will serve you very well when working with a planner. If you are looking to work with a financial adviser or are seeking more information about them, get in contact with the team at Provide Wealth.