On the surface, wealth management and financial planning might sound like they revolve solely around money. Between 401(k)s, IRAs, mutual funds, and ETFs, the industry does focus heavily on the numbers, but the role of a wealth planner goes far beyond that.
A great financial plan starts with insightful conversations between you and a qualified financial advisor. During these early conversations the advisor should ask about your goals and priorities, personal life and values, and anything else that might be needed to help ensure they can meet your expectations. The following are five important questions that an advisor should ask in order to create a unique financial strategy that reaches your goals.
- What are your most pressing financial concerns?
Understanding what keeps a client up at night is critical to providing sound financial advice. If your primary concern is paying off your mortgage, your advisor should be aware of this so that your plan can first focus on tackling debt. This question also allows helps reveal any fears you have that might subconsciously affect the way you make financial decisions.
- When would you like to retire?
Working until you reach full retirement age is no problem for some, but that is not the dream for everyone. And just because you’ve reached retirement age doesn’t mean you have to stop working. No matter your preference, there are many steps you and your financial advisor can take now to help ensure your lifestyle is preserved when you no longer have a steady income.
- What is the annual retirement income amount that you anticipate needing to live comfortably?
Though none of us knows exactly what the cost of living will be in 30 or 40 years, a key component of your financial plan should be based on how much money you think you will need for retirement. This answer will vary for everyone and will depend largely on how you wish to spend your retirement days. For example, a person who wishes to travel or spend a portion of the year at a vacation home will have different needs than someone who plans to work part-time and live at home.
- Should you be unable to care of yourself as you age, what would be your ideal living arrangements?
It’s important for you and your advisor to look at what options are available to you as you age as well as options to help you plan for the unexpected. Would you prefer to live in an assisted-living facility instead of with family? Or is your preference to have in-home care? Have you named a Power of Attorney, and do you have your important documents in order should someone need to access them? Making sure your family knows how your affairs should be handled in the future is critical to having your wishes carried out as you anticipated.
- Aside from your financial health, what do you value most?
Whether it be a hobby, family member, or charitable cause, knowing what matters to you most is the only way an advisor can create a plan that aligns with your goals. This information is also helpful in making sure your investment dollars are not being contributed to an organization that goes against your personal beliefs. If you have strong opinions about things like alcohol, tobacco, or weapons, make sure your advisor is aware of this.
An advisor that takes the time to ask questions and learn the details of your life is better suited to provide you with a unique financial plan that allows you to achieve your goals, live comfortably in retirement, and leave a lasting legacy. If you’re ready to take control of your future, connect with a member of our team today.