• Michael DiBartolomeo

What to Know Before Meeting with a Financial Advisor?

Updated: Feb 24

Deciding to involve quality wealth advisors in Pittsburgh is always a big step that requires adequate consideration. After all, it's going to come at a cost, and much of the money-related decisions going forward are going to be made based on an external party’s recommendation.


While it is true that the planner is an expert who is acutely aware of techniques and variables that the average person would not be, there are still a lot of questions to consider in the mix. Be that as it may, not having adequate financial planning going on can make for some costly mistakes.


The process tends to start with an initial consultation and discussion. To this end, many people wonder what to know before meeting with a financial planner. Unfortunately, it is often complicated beyond necessity, which makes that initial meeting intimidating.


Before diving into the requirements and considerations, potential clients may at least want to go in understanding what a financial planner does and why there is value in using such a service.


Understanding the Financial Planner’s Role

Understanding the Financial Planner’s Role


A financial planner is a qualified professional who makes recommendations in various areas of finance. These may include tax planning, budgeting, estate planning, and investing. While some planners provide a spectrum of services across all these needs, others have decided to go the role of specialization.


Note that even though the specialists zoom in on one area, the recommendations made facilitate and fit in well with the bigger picture. It's a long-term partnership that is dedicated to meeting the financial goals of the client. If someone is unsure of what these goals should be or can be, the financial planner can make solid recommendations there too.


Pre-meeting Action Plan


So, with the explanation out of the way, it's time to think about what is to be done before the meeting with the financial planner begins. Of course, a potential client must start by scheduling the first appointment. Having a date in mind compels preparedness.


First, it's important to remember that financial planning is a multi-person activity for people who are married. Understanding the financial future of the marriage is an essential puzzle piece. Consider the acquisitions that may be desired, as well as what retirement is supposed to look like.


Remember that the financial planner is there to help with the realization of goals, so the clearer the said goals are, the smoother the experience is likely to be, as far as mapping out a direction is concerned.


An unmarried person may instead make these considerations alone. Still, even these people can find a trusted individual to bounce some ideas off. Note that there's nothing wrong with having scheduled the meeting and not knowing any of this before.


Many successful persons only get around to thinking about the distant financial future after a planner has been contacted. Beyond the assets and the kind of net worth a potential client is looking to have, it may also be a good idea to think about the potential large payments that need to be made later. A good example is thinking about what happens when children get to the college level.


Going in Prepared


The initial meeting goes beyond thinking about various areas. There are some items that a potential client may want to bring for the smoothest possible interaction. In other words, the planner needs to understand where the client is to map the path to the desired goals.


Some useful information in black and white includes investment plan statements such as a 401(k), debt statements, pay stubs, and most recent tax returns. A document showing a monthly budget is also an asset to have. Even if a budget was never created at an earlier point in life, it may be a good idea to do so before the meeting.


All this data gives insight into what the client is earning and where it is going. The financial planner can then use this to help optimize the process.


What the Meeting Looks Like


People walk into these meetings thinking that they need to impress the financial planner when it's the other way around. The planner is there for the benefit of the client. Therefore, the person that's going to be using the service should make the conversation a two-way street, as the planner is the one who needs to establish being a good fit for the client.


It's also a good idea to ensure that there is a high level of comfort with all the staff members and that everything is understood. Financial planners are open and willing to answer any questions you may have.

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