• 3-Minute Article
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  • Sep 19, 2017

How to Build a Strong Relationship With Your Advisor

Follow these tips to create a strong, two-way collaboration.

Working with a qualified financial advisor is a smart move to help you plan for your future. But while these experts can help you achieve the lifestyle you envision, they can’t do it alone. You must be an active and engaged participant in the process.

It’s not difficult to foster an open, collaborative relationship with your financial advisor. In fact, there are simple steps you can take now that will establish a fruitful long-term partnership.

Here are five ways to build a strong relationship with your financial advisor and optimize the work you do together: 

Share Your Full Financial Picture

The advice you receive can be much more thorough and effective when you offer a clear view of your current financial situation and long-term goals. That’s why you should share details such as your current savings and household budget, how much insurance you have, and any benefits you receive from your employer. It may feel uncomfortable at first to discuss these figures, but they’re essential to highlight the strengths in your current plan and reveal gaps that need to be filled.

Define Your Ideal Retirement

Share any thoughts you have on your desired retirement age and income. You might draw up a list of your expenses today, and then estimate expenses you expect to be different in retirement. Beyond numbers, though, you should examine the lifestyle you anticipate as a retiree, focusing on priorities such as helping grandchildren with their college tuition, travel plans, hobbies you’d like to pursue, and if you plan to continue working in some capacity once your full-time career is over. These details can help your advisor create an appropriate plan to support that lifestyle.

Meet In-person at Least Once a Year

Annual meetings with your financial advisor are the time to assess where you stand today in relation to the future you’ve envisioned. These meetings should include a review of your assets’ performance over the past year, which can serve as a springboard for broader questions about your progress toward longer-term goals. You can also discuss any new priorities or concerns that have arisen in the past year, which may require changes to your plan. An annual meeting is also a good time to review good financial habits and get advice that can motivate you to stick with them. Get our must-know tips for making the most of your meeting.

Immediately Relay Any Major Life Changes

Between annual meetings, contact your advisor any time you experience a major life event, such as starting a new job or getting married. Keeping your advisor in the loop about these changes is essential, because they often call for adjustments to your financial plan. The sooner your plan reflects these new developments and priorities, the more time you’ll have to work toward achieving your financial goals.

Do a Little Background Research

At some point in your work with an advisor, you might explore specific investments or financial products such as annuities and life insurance. Before engaging in one of these product-specific discussions, do a little research on your own. Even a basic grasp of important financial tools can go a long way in elevating your conversations about them. When advisors know you have a working knowledge of the topic, and are aware of your questions about it, they can offer deeper and more personalized guidance. You’ll also feel more confident that the recommendations you receive are a good fit for your needs—and are truly helping you work toward the future you’ve envisioned.