How to work with a financial professional
Here’s what you can do to get the most from working with a financial professional.
Choose a Financial Professional Who Aligns With You
Financial professionals aren’t all the same. Some focus in wealth management and estate planning strategies, others focus on business owners and their employee benefit needs, and others deeply understand the nuances of providing for complex family needs.
Before you start working with a financial professional, assess whether you’d enjoy working with that person. You want to find someone who can empathize with your lifestyle and the dreams and fears that drive you. Their areas of experience, working style and a sense of mutual respect all affect the success of your collaboration.
Ask questions, both in your first meeting and throughout your relationship. A financial professional is an excellent resource to provide education. They can also work with your other professionals as applies to your situation and needs. (e.g., accountant, attorney, debt counselor).
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Emotional
Money is about a lot more than math. Your finances can tie directly into hopes or fears you have about the future. A financial professional isn’t just interested in a balanced bottom line. They want to support you and help build a solid map to reach your goals.
Talk about your passions, in addition to the details of your accounts. Is your goal to build generational wealth or pursue entrepreneurship as part of your legacy? Are you worried about how to balance putting your kids through school and lending a hand to your aging parents? Financial professionals want to understand the heart behind your finances so they can help create a plan that speaks to who you are.
Be Open and Honest
Your financial professional is in your corner, but that relationship will only be effective if you trust them with a true perspective on your financial situation.
This is the space to bring the full details of your finances. Your debts, income, assets and future responsibilities all factor into the equation. Be ready to be open about your money mindset, too. Your risk tolerance affects how you view investment opportunities, for example. You may be interested in learning to recognize and pursue opportunities that align with your financial profile and attitude toward risk.
Be Accountable With Your Actions
The most important work happens outside of your meetings with your financial professional. Your commitment to acting on the strategies you agree on together can be essential to the goals and time frames that you’ve put in place.
You should leave each meeting feeling energized and like you have a clear sense of next steps, whether they’re specific (e.g., set up automatic savings transfer) or broader (e.g., make a list of top financial priorities).
Update When Life Changes
Your money shapes aspects of how you live your life, so your financial professional needs to hear about big life events. Check in regularly and make sure you let them know about:
- Birth or adoption
- Death of a relative
- Divorce or marriage
- You or your partner change jobs
- Launching a new business
- Buying a home
- Inheritance or windfall
A financial professional is here to help guide you on ways money, emotion and life plans weave together through holistic financial planning. By connecting finance to feelings, financial professionals can help their clients put meaningful purpose into their money management plans.