In the relationship between a financial planner and client, information is the key currency. A meaningful and, for want of a better word, profitable relationship is best served by giving a financial planner the clearest picture of who you are.
One way to accomplish this is by bringing to that first meeting selected documents as well as personal statements that will help the financial planner tailor a strategy that is the perfect fit.
More than half (52.7 percent) of investors surveyed recently by Millionaire Corner considered it important get a financial planner. One of the steps in choosing the right one, offered Susan John, a CFP and Chair of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, is providing him or her with the documents and clearly defined personal goals. "They want to have enough information that will give them a snapshot of who you are and what will make you satisfied with the relationship," she told Millionaire Corner. "Be prepared (to tell them) what is it exactly you want this person to do for you."
One of the most beneficial pieces of information for that first meeting, John recommended, is "a short list of financial goals along with a couple of statements about what would make them feel looking back after a couple of years that this relationship was successful."
John also suggesting bring a financial statement that would flesh out your current financial situation, taking into account such considerations as whether you have multiple residences and mortgages, own a business, have a valuable jewelry collection or own a collection of cars.
Other basic documents include:
∙Payroll stub for self and spouse
∙The most recently filed tax return
∙Checking and savings account statements
∙Credit card statements
∙A recent brokerage statement, or list of accounts and their relative values
∙A 401(K) statement
∙Social Security benefit estimates for self and spouse
∙Wills and other estate planning documents
An advantage of working with a financial planner who has a complete picture of your financial situation and goals as well as an understanding of your risk tolerance, John said, is that "they can sort through the myriad of techniques and possibilities available and zero in on the ones that are right for you to reach your goals, reduce your taxes and implement an investment plan that will let you sleep at night."
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.