For many people, getting started with a financial advisor can feel a lot like reaching into the unknown. Rest assured knowing that the initial meeting with me is a time for us to get to know each other to see if we’re a fit to work together and talk at a high level about your financial life.
Why do you want to meet with a financial advisor?
Before the initial meeting, think about why you want to meet with a financial advisor. Are you looking to create income in retirement? Do you want to purchase a vacation home? Has your company said they’re issuing Restricted Stock Units and you’re not sure if you should hold or sell them? Whatever the reason, it’s important to understand why you’ve made the appointment so that you can ask questions on the financial topics that matter most to you, and if you’re married, to your spouse.
Should my spouse be at the initial meeting with a financial advisor?
It happens more than I’d like when a prospective client tells me they will include their spouse later in the process. While one of you may take lead when it comes to managing family finances, we need you both present because the first meeting isn’t about your investments; it’s about getting to know you and what you both want.
Your spouse may be risk averse and you may be willing to take risks. We need to talk through our strategy so that each of you is heard and we have a financial plan that makes both of you happy and meets your financial goals.
One spouse may want to move from Portland to Washington while the other wants to stay in Portland. Neither of you is sure how to create an income stream that would support your living expenses in either place. That’s where a financial advisor can guide and create a plan to make that decision together.
Perhaps most importantly is that your spouse, even if they aren’t the family money manager, needs to know where accounts are held and how to access the funds in the event that you are incapacitated or die. Without that knowledge, they may not be able to access money they need to pay basic monthly bills and other expenses.
What paperwork do you need when getting started with a financial advisor?
For the first meeting, we like to keep it simple. We ask that you bring your investment statements and latest tax return with you as reference material.
Our first meeting is really a getting to know you session where we talk about where you are today and where you want to be in the future. If at the end of the meeting we feel like we’re a good fit, we will provide you with a list of the documents we need to complete your financial plan.