Well, who the heck has that on the top of their mind, and why would that be your responsibility anyway?
The fact is that the better a relationship you have with your financial advisor, and the more engaged you are in the process- the better a job they can do for you.
Like the Boy Scout Motto. This is especially important when you are developing a plan together. The “Data” or “Discovery” phase is about understanding all the bits and pieces that make you who you are financially. It allows them to give you the best possible advice.
It could be budgeting items, insurance, tax returns, investment statements. It’s important to have on hand whatever an advisor tells you she needs to help understand you a little better. If something is on your list to bring, either bring it in its entirety or notate why you could not.
While advisors are used to seeing many forms of financial information they cannot assume or know about things you don’t bring up.
Example: bring your 401(k) statement, but also bring your available choices and any rules the company has on matching funds. Going the extra mile in being prepared is the best thing you can do for yourself. More is better here!
Don’t let months go by between meetings or even touching base. There is a momentum to doing a financial plan for you, and if an advisor must start from scratch while waiting for information to come in, it kills that momentum. And don’t call on April 14th to say you would like a tax analysis because you are sitting in your accountant’s office. Things done in a rush are often not done to their best.
This isn’t the place for ego, or for not admitting to a mistake you made. Sometimes when you meet with your advisor, it can be a bit hard to say you have something else that has come up that may interfere with your plan. That is life.
Your advisor is there to help you to the next phase no matter where you are. So, if you have had a business that failed, or your kid is having a bit of trouble – bring it up. Also, if you don’t like the way things are going, ask about it. That’s mutual respect.
If there is something that needs to be said, say it. Your advisor can’t know every nuance of every financial situation, but they do have vast resources to research things. If you have documents readily available at work, but just figure the advisor can pull them up… you could be sending them on a multi-hour task without knowing it. So think a little and together find the easiest way to get what is needed.
Loyalty is earned. So, once it is, don’t be chasing shiny new ideas all the time. This detracts from your long-term plan. An advisor will start to formulate plans based upon how you react. Some of this will be self-preservation, but it will also be them genuinely trying to make you happy. Over-trying to make you happy can lead to the search for short term results instead of focusing on your overall plan.
In this age of social media, robo-calls, and email, it can be hard to communicate to a client. Don’t be shy, pick up the phone and give your advisor a call. Sometimes you need a full review, but other times you just need a quick touching base call.
Believe it or not, your advisor isn’t annoyed by this, they appreciate it. You are making their job much easier by not having them jump through hoops to update you on your plan! They want to do a good job, and they want you to communicate your good experience to other people by introducing them to you.
Don’t come in expecting every year double digit returns and don’t expect for your account not to lose any money at all in a year where the market had a bad year. It is the cumulative returns that are important.
Develop a Relationship
This is the most important part of being a dream client. Allowing an advisor to help you formulate goals, give you feedback, educate you on financial and lifestyle issues, coach behavior in difficult times and generally advocate for you is a gift. Those things are all exponentially better if you know each other. Take time to understand what makes each of you tick. Your communication level will go up with your results.
All this makes you a dream client, but it isn’t about the advisor, it is about you. This is your plan after all and the whole point is if you are easy to work with, your true goals will be forefront and understood by your advisor. Your honesty, clarity, and availability will simply allow her to do her job. Understanding this is a symbiotic relationship is what gives you the power to develop the right plans with the right person.
Presented by Dan Romaine. The accompanying pages have been developed by an independent third party. Commonwealth Financial Network is not responsible for their content and does not guarantee their accuracy or completeness, and they should not be relied upon as such. These materials are general in nature and do not address your specific situation. For your specific investment needs, please discuss your individual circumstances with your representative. Commonwealth does not provide tax or legal advice, and nothing in the accompanying pages should be construed as specific tax or legal advice. Securities offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC.
This communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the state(s) of CT, MA, NH and PA. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside the specific states referenced.
Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2019.