Working with a Financial Advisor can truly be life-changing. Over the years, we have helped so many people define their life plans and financial goals. We’ve guided them along the way as they’ve achieved those goals, creating the success and security they desire.
When it comes to wealth management, we’ve discovered that the first step is often the hardest for clients. Making that first call and scheduling the first meeting with a Financial Planner can feel like a big hurdle. Once you get over that hurdle, success and happiness await. How can you feel more confident heading into your first meeting? We believe the answer lies in education and in helping our clients know what to expect.
Once you know what to expect from your first meeting with a Financial Advisor, it becomes a lot less intimidating. It stops feeling like a hurdle and starts feeling like a wise first step towards financial security and independence. So, with no further ado, here’s an in-depth look at what you can expect from your first meeting with our Financial Planner.
Discussing Your Life Goals
Clients are often surprised that their first meeting with their Financial Advisor does not focus solely on their income, budget, and savings. Rather, your financial planner will begin by getting to know you as a person. They’ll spend time chatting with you about your passions, your life goals, and where you’d like to be in 5 years, 10 years, and even 20 years.
If you’re not clear on your life goals, that is completely okay. Your Financial Advisor can work with you, both in this first meeting and over the years, to better define your goals and priorities.
Why don’t we focus solely on money? Well, when it comes down to it, money is just a tool. It can be used to get you from Point A to Point B, or it can be used to get you from Point A to Point G. We have to know where you want to head in life in order to establish how to best steer you there, financially. In other words, your Financial Advisor will help you define your life goals, first. With your life goals in place, you can then craft financial goals that support the life you desire.
Reviewing Your Finances
Once your Financial Planner has gotten to know you a little, they will start digging into the hard numbers: your finances. Your advisor should be in touch with you prior to your first meeting, and they’ll generally ask you to bring certain documents, such as bank statements, previous tax returns, records of retirement contributions, and the like.
Your Financial Advisor will look over these documents to see how you’re currently handling your finances. There is no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed about your income, your account balances, or any financial decisions you made in the past. Wealth Managers do not judge their clients’ decisions. However, they do need to know where you’re starting in order to help you create a financial plan that allows you to move forward and enjoy more success.
Answering Your Questions
Chances are, you have some questions for your Financial Advisor. These might range from “What is a 401k?” to “Can you help me retire early?” Your advisor will work to create an open, welcoming environment where you feel comfortable asking any questions that come to mind throughout the course of your first meeting.
In the age of the Internet and endless information, it can be hard to know who is a trusted source. When you search for answers to your financial questions online, you can never be certain that the answers are accurate or well suited to your particular situation.
However, Wealth Managers have the training and experience to answer your financial questions accurately and in a way that is personalized to your own goals and situation. For this reason, we encourage you to ask any and all questions that come to mind during your first meeting. It’s a chance to get real answers from a real expert; those don’t come around too often these days!
Addressing Your Concerns
Do you have some concerns about working with a Financial Planner, specifically? Sometimes, new clients are concerned that we may be too controlling, or that we might strong-arm them into making financial decisions they do not like. We never take this approach. Rather, Financial Advisors aim to walk alongside you and guide you in making plans and decisions that best suit your own interests and preferences.
Nevertheless, if you have concerns of this type, your advisor will be happy to address them in your first meeting. We can explain every part of the process, how our contracts work, what we can and cannot do for you, and so forth. We want to make sure you are entirely comfortable working together before we move forward.
Establishing a Relationship
The first meeting with your Financial Advisor is an excellent opportunity to begin building a professional, working relationship. Not only will the advisor work to get to know you and your goals, but they’ll be transparent with you about their role and their experiences.
Although we maintain a professional relationship with our customers at all times, personal finance is, well, personal. As such, we always want our clients to feel at ease and open around their advisors. This all starts at the first meeting, as we begin establishing a mutual report and respect for one another.
Creating a Plan
Your financial plan is something that will change and bend over time. A few years down the road, you may decide you want to move into a different career, retire early, or relocate. All of these decisions will impact your financial plan. However, you will need an initial plan in order to start taking the wisest steps towards a secure financial future. Your advisor will begin working with you, from the first meeting on, to create this plan.
The plan you and your advisor create together at this first meeting may not be incredibly detailed just yet. However, it should paint, with broad strokes, how you plan on getting from your current financial position to your desired financial position.
Such a plan will generally outline your retirement contributions, the types of retirement accounts you should be contributing to, whether you need to cut back on spending in certain areas, and how your earnings are expected to increase over the coming years. Every person’s financial situation and life goals are different, which means no two financial plans are the same.
We also want to emphasize that this financial plan is not something your advisor imposes on you or prescribes to you. Rather, it is a plan that you and your advisor work together to create throughout the course of the meeting. It will change and become more detailed as time goes on and as you and your advisor continue to work together. If at any point you are uncomfortable with a part of the plan, we can propose alternatives and make any necessary changes.
Meeting with your Financial Planner for the first time should not be a stressful experience. Instead, it should be an opportunity to start building a relationship with someone who will help guide you and your finances towards a more successful future. Now that you have a better idea of what to expect, contact RLJ Wealth Management to schedule your first meeting. We can’t wait to get to know you.