What to Expect Once You Hire a Financial Advisor

What to Expect Once You Hire a Financial Advisor

financial planning  |  financial advisor

You understand the importance of partnering with an experienced, qualified financial advisor to help keep your financial goals on track and gain real clarity over the money matters affecting you and your family. You’ve done the work to research and vet those professionals that share a common philosophy around money management and align with your own principles. Now what?

The time has come to make a decision and move forward with your selection. To help you navigate the process of giving a firm your business, we’re lending some expert tips on what to anticipate when you finally hire a financial advisor. Here’s what you should expect to glean from a valuable relationship with the right company.


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Financial Planning Advice

First things first: Your financial advisor should set the foundation for planning strategies and guidance by helping you discover and define your true purpose for money. When it comes to financial planning, money is simply the means to an end. Maybe you’re looking for safety, security, comfort, freedom or financial independence. Whatever it is, your true purpose is far more important than the money itself, and this personal dimension of wealth varies from person to person.

When you struggle, worry or suffer over money, it’s often because your financial choices don’t align with your inner value system. When your financial decisions align with your values, you’re more likely to experience a real sense of satisfaction and contentment. So no matter what financial decision you’re facing, discovering your true purpose for money can pave the way for long-lasting satisfaction and fulfillment. That’s why, at the outset of your relationship together, your financial advisor should provide the framework for identifying your true purpose for money.

Once this purpose is realized, you should expect to receive ongoing advice, insight, education and guidance on essential components of financial planning, such as:

  • What financial mistakes you may be making and what you can do differently to achieve your goals
  • How much you need to save in order to reach your financial objectives and support the lifestyle you imagine for yourself
  • What you need to do over the short and long term to address any debt you may have
  • How to budget appropriately for the various financial needs in your life
  • What changes, decisions or actions might enhance your tax returns
  • What types of retirement accounts are most appropriate for you to leverage at various points in your life, career and financial journey
  • What type of mortgage is best suited to your financial realities, as well as if/when you should pay it off or refinance
  • If and when it makes sense for you to downsize at some point in your life
  • What type of insurance you need and how much, including options like life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability, property and casualty insurance and health insurance
  • How much money to store in a liquid savings account to cover expenses for several months in the event of an emergency
  • What tax implications or fund allocations are associated with inheritance
  • How to approach estate and legacy planning
  • How to develop the best charitable giving approach for your situation so you can enjoy the blessings of your generosity and support your favorite organizations in a meaningful, tax-smart way

In addition to these elements, your financial advisor can advise on any large purchases you’re interested in making, such as a house or car, and give you expert insight on how much you can and should spend in the context of your financial outlook.

Ultimately, you should be able to rely on your financial advisor to do what’s best for you and your finances at all times. They should be able to shoulder the complex aspects of financial planning and simplify your wealth management so you can relax and enjoy life today while planning for the future.

Investment Advice

Financial advisors are equipped to offer valuable advice on how to best invest your money and manage your investment portfolio. They will work with you to tailor investment strategies, a portfolio structure and even individual assets to your specific goals.

Research has proven that investors who create a written plan significantly outperform those who don’t. You should expect your financial advisor to support you in designing a strategic plan that aligns with the values and objectives that matter most to you. They can help you stay disciplined in your approach and committed to the plan so that rumors, future predictions, stories, quick tips or sudden market expectations never impact your overall strategy or impede successful outcomes.

A financial advisor also has the knowledge and experience to guide you in taking the appropriate level of risk with your investments. All investing comes with varying amounts of risk – both the risk of losing money and the risk of missing out on valuable returns. Because investors stand to lose a great deal with an investment strategy that isn’t right for them, it is essential for your financial advisor to direct you toward a risk level that matches your objectives and stage in life.

A seasoned financial advisor has invested and managed money in a magnitude of scenarios. They should have the education and expertise to analyze what information is relevant to your investment goals, and what information is not. This is particularly crucial for investors who are prone to making rash portfolio decisions based purely on emotion. Your advisor or financial coach is there to help educate you on what your investments are doing and why, so you can stay on track and stick to your plan instead of risking long-term goals with emotionally-driven moves. A professional keeps emotions in check by educating you and knows when to tweak a plan in order to yield results.

Finally, expect your financial advisor to measure the success of your portfolio and report back to you on how well you’re tracking toward established targets. This doesn’t mean focusing on short-term losses or gains. After all, the value of your assets will always fluctuate. Your advisor should be focused on metrics that indicate long-term performance

Accountability

Last (but definitely not least!), your financial advisor is there to offer accountability where your money is concerned. It’s easy for anyone who doesn’t have a strong background in finance to make mistakes, follow bad advice, be fooled by investing myths and fall into wealth-damaging traps. Your financial advisor is your go-to resource for sticking to a well-crafted plan and staying accountable to your goals.

Most people don’t spend their lives studying financial planning or investing strategies. What makes a financial advisor indispensable is their ability to understand and assess your long-term needs, challenges, and goals and determine a strategic path to that end.

That said, you should expect to meet with your advisor on a regular basis (annually at a minimum). Be prepared to review your financials together by gathering all of the information you’ll need in order to discuss issues like:

  • Changes to your investment and savings goals, your financial circumstances, your timeline for retirement and your risk appetite
  • Questions you have about your overall financial picture, plan, investment portfolio, taxes, insurance or any other aspect
  • Documents pertaining to your investment accounts, employment, taxes, pension, social security and debts (mortgage, loan and credit card statements)
  • Records and documentation regarding your estate, will, trust and life insurance

 

It’s never too early to get started. The Family Inventory Workbook can help you gather a comprehensive list of all information pertaining to your family’s current financial picture. Download yours now for free.


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About Greg Hammond, CFP®, CPA

Greg Hammond is the chief executive officer of Hammond Iles Wealth Advisors, and co-founder of Planned Giving Strategies®. Greg leads a team of professional financial advisors providing customized wealth management and investment solutions for high-net-worth individuals, families, companies, and charitable organizations across the U.S.