Financial Advisor Consultation
Questions You Should Ask

We’ve discussed questions to ask a financial advisor before hiring them for your planning needs. This article will discuss questions you need to ask yourself before meeting with your financial planning professional.

These questions are more for preparation and to get you primed to get the most out of your advisor. Many of these topics will be covered when an advisor runs a financial need analysis, but thinking about them will help you focus your key objectives.

What are your goals?

Think about what you are really looking for. What does your ideal retirement look like? What do you feel like is achievable? Are you interested in a financial legacy?

Think about the broad outlines of what you wish to achieve. Compile a list and bring it with you to your consultation.

How much investable income do you have?

Your advisor will work with you on the finer points, but think about how much money you have available—whether through lump sum or periodic contributions—to invest into your retirement program at this point.

How much can you input over time on a monthly or yearly basis?

What types of assets do you currently have?

You may already have certain types of financial products—such as bonds, CDs, or mutual funds—that can be maximized through specific strategies. Make sure you have an inventory of all of your financial assets, including employer-sponsored programs like 401(k)s and IRAs, when you meet with a financial advisor.

What kinds of financial products are you interested in?

Your financial advisor will help you develop the right mix of financial products for your needs, but you may have certain products already in mind. Determining your product or product mix correlates to your financial objectives.

For example, if you are seeking a source of steady guaranteed income upon retirement, you may be considering a deferred annuity.

What needs do you anticipate?

Consider any medical issues or long-term care you may face during retirement. What types of resources you will need to handle these situations?

Also consider other needs, such as financing children’s education or paying off a mortgage.

What ongoing debts, expenses, and financial burdens do you or will you have?

Compile a list of your debts and their specific payoff timeframes. Think about the major debts and expenses that will be ongoing. What is your plan for addressing these in the event of death or disability?

How soon are you looking to retire? At what age would you like benefits to trigger?

Your current age and your desired age of retirement will greatly influence the strategy your financial advisor develops with you. There are financial products designed for long-term growth as well as products designed to be triggered within a few years and even shorter.

If you are looking for long-term growth and you are some time away from retirement, you may want to consider deferred annuities, such as Fixed, Fixed Indexed, or Variable annuities.

If you are looking to trigger benefits in a short period of time, you may want to consider Single Premium Immediate Annuities.

Are you looking for steady, modest growth or larger upside potential?

Consider if you would rather have steady, guaranteed growth (such as you would find with a Fixed Annuity, certain SPIAs) or larger upside potential (such as you would find in a Fixed Indexed Annuity or Variable Annuity).

What is my risk tolerance?

What amount of risk are you willing to take to achieve your objectives?

This is an important question to consider.

Factors such as age, time horizon, investment goals, and your feelings all factor into the right solution for you.

Remember that financial planning is a process and the results depend on your unique situation, objectives, and needs. A trusted, highly rated financial advisor is often the best way to position yourself to achieve your financial goals. If you are unable to definitively answer the questions above—no worries! Part of a financial advisor’s job is to help you figure out your achievable goals and to ensure that you stay on track.