12 Finance Pros Share Pertinent Information Your New Financial Advisor Needs To Know


Female financial advisor in discussion with client in office conference room


Many new clients meeting with a personal financial advisor for the first time may not be aware of the scope of information the advisor needs to provide the best counsel. It takes more than just a target retirement date to prepare a well-rounded financial plan. 

Coming prepared to your first meeting with a new financial advisor will help them better help you chart a course to achieving all your financial goals. Below, 12 experts from Forbes Finance Council share the information you should have ready to have a truly productive first meeting with your financial advisor.

1. Your Take On Your Current Financial Situation

Rather than gathering many documents up front, we prefer to have a meaningful discovery conversation with our potential clients. When putting together a comprehensive goals-based financial plan for a new client, we want to understand their current financial snapshot in their own words. We get a picture of where they’d like to be as we advance so we can identify the gaps along the way. – Kirk Badii, Badii Group Private Wealth Management

2. What You Want The Future To Look Like

Know what’s most important to you. What values drive you? What goals are you trying to achieve? What do you want the future to look like for you and your family? Financial advisors need this information to help you chart the course for your personal finances. It’s more useful to the relationship than any number on a statement. – Sandi Bragar, Aspiriant

3. Your Overall Financial Situation

Financial advisors can only help you if you can provide the big picture of your financial situation. Be sure to prepare by getting your monies, investments, life insurance policies, will, estate plan and other important documents in order. When you paint a fuller picture, financial advisors will be able to provide tailored investment advice for your situation. – Joe Camberato, National Business Capital & Services

4. Your Credit Report And Monthly Income

When meeting with me, clients should have a copy of their credit report along with the amount of money coming in every month. This will help determine their debt-to-income ratio, which plays a huge part when purchasing a home or trying to improve their overall credit score. This also gives clients a better understanding of what they are paying every month. – Jose Rodriguez, Got Credit?

5. Your Spending Record

Above all else, you must have a clear record of your spending. Credit cards, debit cards and loans—financial advisors need to have the whole picture so they can give you the best advice possible. Without a scope of your monthly and yearly costs, there is no starting point or way to devise a plan for your specific situation. Be sure to arrive with as much information as possible. – Greg Herlean, Horizon Trust

Forbes Finance Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning and wealth management firms. Do I qualify?

6. A Total For Your Monthly Bills

Have a general idea of how much money you make and how much money you owe in monthly bills. Everything starts with the basics—knowing where you are financially starts with these two basics. You don’t need a fancy spreadsheet; just grab last month’s pay stubs and bills and make a list. – Joseph Orseno, tiltify.com

7. Your Short- And Long-Term Goals

Clients should walk into the meeting knowing what they want in terms of their short-term and long-term financial goals. Everyone has different needs, and your financial advisor needs to know your needs. This will help the advisor give you the most helpful and relevant advice—customized for you—in the very first meeting. – Kristy Kim, TomoCredit

8. Your Budget

Bring a budget so your advisor has a general idea of how you’ve spent your money in the past. If you don’t have a budget, bring a printed-out version of your credit card or bank statements. This will give your advisor an educated idea of your spending habits and might shed light on tax credits or incentives you could be eligible for. – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets

9. Your Household Balance Sheet

A personal financial advisor needs to be aware of all your assets and liabilities to properly advise you. The balance sheet will help you get organized—your advisor should take on the upkeep of that document once you begin working together. Don’t forget to include personal property that has value outside of investment accounts or real estate. – Evan Kirkpatrick, Wendell Charles Financial

10. Your Family Tree And History

Everybody thinks we want to see the balance sheet, and yes, it’s true we’ll eventually need that. But first, we like to build out the client’s family tree and understand their history. How did they grow up? Will they need to support their parents? What about siblings and kids? That helps us see around corners the client might not have been thinking about, such as moving closer to kids and grandkids in another state. – Bill Keen, Keen Wealth Advisors

11. Your Tax Return

There are a lot of items that need to be gathered to put together a quality financial plan. If I were to pick the piece of information that is most important it would have to be the tax return(s). A wealth of information can be found in a client’s tax return. Similarly, many questions can be generated that will help in the financial planning process when reviewing the return(s). – Amir Eyal, Mylestone Plans LLC

12. Your Retirement Goals

People think that meeting with a financial advisor can be overwhelming. It shouldn’t be. Come to that first meeting with ideas of what you would like your retirement to look like and how you would like to live and let your financial advisor help get you there. Having an idea of where you stand financially can be a great start to a conversation about your goals. – Jim Poolman, Indexed Annuity Leadership Council

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