And I like asking questions, to keep learning; people with big egos might not want to look unsure. ~ H. Blumenthal
You’re heading off to get the financial piece of retirement either on track or to see if it is already headed in the correct direction – fantastic! I couldn’t be happier for you! Before you head out the door, let’s go over a few things that would be best if they were clear in your mind before you even open the financial advisor’s (FA) door…or open your door to them as the case may be. Without further adios and in no particular order:
~ What are you thinking about for your own retirement. The clearer your picture, the more direction your FA can give you. Be specific; do you want to remain in your current home? Do you want to sell your home and trade it for a high end RV? (Those puppies aren’t inexpensive!) Do you know how much your monthly expenses are to maintain your home? If you choose to stay will you be able to afford extra help for when you aren’t up for cleaning the gutters yourself?
~ What do you already have set up? Make sure you bring all your current funds, pension plans and what have you.
~ Do you want to fund your child’s college education or help them with a downpayment of some sort?
~ Do you have another family member you’re financially supporting? This is much more common than you’d expect. Be sure to have the dollar amount and how long or under what conditions this will continue under. “I’ll only do this until…” or “I have no intention of stopping…”
~ What kind of lifestyle do you want in retirement. Do you wish to go first class all the way or eat TV dinners every night?
~ Do you have debt? If so, how much?
~ How’s your general health? Do you expect any large medical bills in the future?
~ What exactly are you hoping from your visit with an FA? Do you want to know if you’re on track? Do you need a plan to get on track to meet your goals?
~ Know what you’re comfortable with. If you are a bit timid about the stock market or don’t understand bonds learn about them before you go. If you’re not a risk taker it’s good to know that before you are handed what could be a dizzying array of options!
~ What’s the state of your emergency fund?
~ Have you been told to expect an inheritance?
~ Can you identify areas of your current budget that could be trimmed, if necessary?
~ Do you know how much you require each month to maintain your current lifestyle?
~ Do you anticipate a change in your employment situation anytime in the near future? If you’re working but have been told that your position is about to eliminated it’s time to start planning for that!
~ Where do you have funds tied up outside of what I’d call ‘legit’ places? Have you sunk $10,000 into a friend’s yoga studio in hopes of that being an investment while the whole thing is off the books?
We can talk, and will talk in the months ahead about what to ask the financial advisor when that meeting is finally set up but for now I’d suggest you lay the foundation for the best possible experience.
Wishing you the best for your week!