According to a 2014 Prudential report, women who use a financial professional are more likely (53%) to consider themselves on track for retirement than those who do not (23%). Early spring is a perfect season to have a conversation about your personal finance with a financial adviser before the tax season. However, it’s up to your preparation to make the conversation beneficial.
First, gather all the documents you need, including:
- Your most recent notice of assessment from the tax agency
- Financial statements that reflect your investments, loans, assets, mortgages, and your monthly payments to them
- Your work status (full-time, self-employed) and list of your benefits (health, employment, disability insurance, etc)
Second, understand the type of financial advisers you are meeting up and how they get paid.
It is difficult to figure out what financial advisers, financial planners, or account managers can offer to you without knowing the context. Perhaps they can do transactions, portfolio management, or introduce you to appropriate services.
- Are they in personal banking, wealth management, insurance, or something else? What they are specialized in?
- Do they get a commision-based, or fee-based compensation (charge a flat or hourly fee, or a percentage of managed assets)?
Your adviser can be excellent regardless of the context, but you should know there is no such thing as a free service. Understanding who you’ll be talking to can help you make the most of your time and money.
Third, bring your plan for your short- and long-term goals.
Financial advisers can’t help you unless you have ideas about what you want to achieve. Whether it is long-term investment, retirement planning, buying a house, or setting up some emergency fund, take a note of what you need in your life to give their advice some direction.
Fourth, spend a couple of hours to check out basic financial trends.
Check out interest rates, common investment products, or market trends that are related to your goals. Since financial market changes very quickly, having some ideas about what’s going on last a couple of years can boost your confidence. Ask your friends and co-workers about what they know since conversations can teach you a lot.
Lastly, consult with someone you trust and bring someone to your meeting.
According to a 2015 Fidelity Report, only 47% of women say they would be confident discussing money and investing with a financial professional on their own. If your partner is good at talking about financial matters, bring them to your meeting. However, don’t forget the fact that you should be the one make decisions for your finances. As well, don’t hesitate to ask your friends about how they deal with their financial planning. If your friends have good referrals, ask for contacts. If their parents are resourceful, offer to buy them a coffee for quick advice.
Remember, the best way to have a great meeting is being prepared to drive a mutually beneficial conversation. This will help you to establish a good relationship between you and the financial advisers, which can help you to achieve your financial goals.
Epilogue. If you still didn’t like the conversation, no worries. Meet with more to find a right one.