Preparing for a First Meeting with a Financial Advisor

December 1, 2023

You have a first meeting with a new financial advisor, congrats! You’re taking an essential step in forging a path to financial confidence and clarity. But this is more than just a casual chat; it’s a critical conversation to determine if this professional is the right fit for you. We believe you’ll need to equip yourself with the right questions, clarify your goals, and more.

Start with Clarity

Take a moment to consider your financial goals and what motivated you to reach out to an advisor in the first place. Whether it’s building retirement savings or planning for college expenses, having clear objectives may help guide the conversation. Remember, it’s normal not to have everything figured out—that’s precisely why you’re seeking professional guidance. That said, get clear on your need for a professional relationship – it’ll typically be one of the first questions the advisor will ask.

Conduct a FINRA Check

Before meeting with a financial advisor, it’s important to perform due diligence. A crucial part of this is reviewing the BrokerCheck resource with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). This will reveal their background, experience, and if there have been any disciplinary actions against the advisor or their firm. A FINRA check may provide peace of mind that the advisor is in good standing and has adhered to industry standards and regulations. It’s a simple but effective step in ensuring the advisor’s credibility and legitimacy.

Explore their Digital Footprint

In today’s digital age, a financial advisor’s website and online content may be as telling as a face-to-face meeting. Take the time to explore their website, read through any articles they’ve written, and watch any videos they’ve produced. This content may give you a sense of their knowledge, expertise, and the type of advice they provide. It’s also an opportunity to see if their financial philosophies align with your personal values and goals.

Establish Your Criteria

Reflect on the qualities that are most important to you in a financial advisor. Consider their experience, their client communication style, or their history of dealing with similar financial situations to yours. Knowing your criteria may help you evaluate whether the advisor is the right fit for your financial needs.

Prepare Questions in Advance

Prepare a list of questions that may help you uncover the advisor’s approach and suitability for your needs. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • “What does your typical client look like?”
  • “What should I expect in terms of communication and collaboration with you?”
  • “Can you share your professional background and experience?”
  • “How many clients do you serve, and how personalized are your services?”
  • “What is the cost structure for your services?”
  • “What planning tools or resources do you use, and will I have access to them?”
  • “Who comprises your team, and who will I directly work with?”

Trust Your Instincts

After the meeting, assess how you feel. Were all your questions answered to your satisfaction? Did the advisor make you feel at ease? Your instincts may be a powerful gauge of whether the advisor is someone with whom you may build a trusting relationship.

No Pressure

An ethical financial advisor will understand that choosing an advisor is a significant decision that should not be rushed. Be wary of any advisor who pressures you to make a decision on the spot. We believe a genuine advisor will give you the space and time to consider your options.

By embracing these steps, we believe you’re not only preparing for a meeting but setting the foundation for a long-term partnership that aligns with your financial aspirations and personal values. Here’s to finding an advisor who may help you navigate your financial voyage with confidence and trust.

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