So, you’ve decided to take charge of your future and get some guidance from a financial planner to help you achieve your goals. Congratulations! You might be wondering what happens next. As with most things in life, a little preparation goes a long way so we’ve listed some of the things you should do before your first meeting with your financial adviser.

  1. Know your goals.

It’s important to think about both your short- and long-term goals before you come to your initial meeting. These don’t have to be strictly financial but they do need to be SMART (i.e. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely). Your adviser will use these as a basis for your financial strategy so carefully consider your dreams and aspirations.

  1. Do your homework.

Get together a file of all of the most important documents including:

  • Identification documents (drivers licence or passport).
  • Proof of income and savings (bank statements, pay slips, Centrelink statements, etc.).
  • Assets such as your home (date purchased, amount paid, current value), car, shareholdings and any other valuable items.
  • Insurance arrangements, including life and/or personal risk management policies (amount insured and type of cover).
  • An estimate of living expenses; you can use the budget planner on the Money Smart website to help you.
  1. Honesty is the best policy.

Irrespective of your current situation or your future goals, the most important outcome from your initial meeting is the foundation of a trusting and ongoing relationship. In order to achieve this, you need to be completely honest with your adviser. By being frank and open, your adviser can build a financial strategy you will feel comfortable with.

  1. Prepare some questions.

You will probably have dozens of questions for your adviser and they will be more than happy to answer them. However, in the heat of the moment, you may forget some of what you wanted to ask so write down any queries and bring them along to your first meeting. You may want to find out your adviser’s qualifications and experience, their membership of professional associations, and the costs involved in their services. You should also ask if you can speak to any of their current and former clients to find out whether they would recommend your adviser and what it’s like to work with them.

  1. Let your adviser be your guide.

Do you know what the latest changes to legislation affecting superannuation are? Or what impact they may have on your retirement savings? It’s your adviser’s job to know all of the legislative as well as the economic and other changes that may have an impact on your financial strategy. Your adviser is there to provide guidance on how best to achieve your goals so make sure you take full advantage of their advice.

The first meeting you have with your adviser will lay the foundations of your ongoing relationship. It’s important you not only feel comfortable with the advice they are providing but that they are able to relate to you on a personal level; after all, you will be sharing your most intimate personal and financial details with them. With a bit of preparation, you can ensure the relationship gets off on the right foot and develops into a productive partnership.

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