Would you trust your medical diagnosis to a casual acquaintance? Do you cut your own hair or dry clean your own clothes? For some services, it makes more sense to pay a professional who has the expertise to deliver the appropriate results. A professional financial can help you build a sound estate plan, designed to help you toward your long-term financial planning goals. These six steps can help you locate and get the most out of this important relationship.
Choosing Your Financial Professional
One of the best ways to find a financial professional is through a referral of a friend or relative. Your accountant or lawyer may also be able to provide you with a referral. Since they come with a recommendation from someone you trust, referrals can help you feel more confident about your choice of a financial advisor. You can also find a financial professional by attending an investment seminar or reading the business section of your local newspaper.
Set Up a Consultation
Your first meeting is an opportunity to become acquainted with the financial professional and find out if you feel comfortable working together. You should make sure a prospective financial professional is a good match for your financial outlook and personality. Ask the financial professional about the types of clients he or she is currently working with and try to evaluate if your financial objectives are well matched to their areas of expertise. Follow up with questions about education, experience, and qualifications. Before selecting a financial professional, you should feel confident that a prospective financial professional can accurately explain the financial arena and the benefits of different financial planning tools.
Discuss Your Goals and Obligations
In order to help you clarify your financial goals, your financial professional will need detailed information about you and your financial situation, philosophy and risk tolerance. Be candid about your income, debts, future obligations, current assets and anything else that may impact your financial situation.
Ask Plenty of Questions
The more you know about financial planning, the more control you have over your financial future. Use your financial professional as a resource. Financial professionals have access to current information that can help you better understand their recommendations and the performance of your plan. And if you do not understand something, make sure to ask.
Meet or Speak Regularly
Your financial professional has the expertise and knowledge about financial planning but won’t be able to fully understand the details of your financial situation unless you share them. In order to keep your estate plan moving in the right direction, your financial professional needs up-to-date information on life changes that may have financial implications, including:
• Marriage or divorce.
• The birth or adoption of a child
• The purchase of a home.
• A change in your work status, or that of your spouse.
• Additional current financial responsibilities, such as college payments or care for aging relatives.
• An inheritance or other financial windfall.
Financial professionals can draw from years of experience and help you maintain a long-term perspective on your investment plan through good markets and bad. You will get more out of your relationship if you are open-minded about your financial professional’s recommendations. While you may not agree with every idea your financial professional presents, being a good listener can help increase your investment knowledge.
Following these six steps can help you locate and have a successful relationship with a financial professional.