It’s not unusual for someone to walk away from a meeting with their financial planner and not feel as though anything new was accomplished. This common experience leaves many people wondering if they’re actually getting something out of the situation.
Chances are you’re reaping the benefits of having a financial planner, even if you don’t know it. However, it doesn’t hurt to make sure. With this in mind, consider the following in order to start getting the most out of your financial planner:
Find a great one
It sounds like a no-brainer, but how much time and effort did you put into choosing your financial planner? How much did great customer acquisition techniques influence your decision, versus an objective examination of credentials, reviews, and other windows into a financial planner’s reputation and expertise? Getting the most out of your financial planner starts with finding the best candidate possible.
Part of the reason so many people feel like meeting with their financial planner is unproductive is because they aren’t keeping track of all that was said and done. Even at his slowest pace, it’s not unusual for the typical financial planner to cover a wide range of complicated financial topics in a short amount of time. And if you understood everything he was saying, you wouldn’t need his help in the first place. Consider taking notes, or record audio of the meeting with your smartphone. Keep in mind those in two-party consent states must have the financial planner agree to be recorded. Afterward, use trusted business and financial transcription services to make what was said easier to access going forward. This essentially allows you to reference the conversation in the future, giving it more long-term significance.
A financial planner can’t function at peak performance if he isn’t privy to the whole scope of your financial situation. Undisclosed assets, buried credit card debts, and other tucked away financial liabilities need to be brought to the surface for proper examination and evaluation. If anything, your financial skeletons in the closet may be waiting for a financial advisor of some kind to take a look for a practical solution. With this in mind, it pays to be as honest as possible with your financial planner, otherwise they may not be able to do the most for you they can.
Ask the right questions
One of the biggest obstacles in the way of getting the most from your financial planner is simply not asking the right questions. According to Nerdwallet, the important questions to ask a financial planner include inquiring whether or not they’re a fiduciary, what sorts of services are included, and an explanation of their investment philosophy. Someone calling themselves a financial planner ought to be able to answer these and similar questions without hesitation.
Go off-topic on occasion
Similar to the public perception of lawyers and investment bankers, financial planners are often negatively labeled as something bordering on soulless subhuman, when in the end they are people just like the rest of us. Get to know your financial planner a little bit better by going off-topic whenever the conversation allows. This enables you to get a better sense of who he is as a person, and vice versa. This can only strengthen the relationship between a client and his financial planner.
It may sometimes seem as though a financial planner isn’t doing too much to positively impact your financial situation, but take a closer look before writing off the arrangement. Not only is your financial planner probably making things better for your finances, he’s likely able to provide you with the knowledge needed to improve your own understanding of how the financial world functions.