Tips for talking to a financial security advisor for the first time

Canada Life - Sep 15, 2020
Does the thought of financial security planning feel like unknown territory?
Discussing your financial portfolio with an advisor

Planning your financial future

Not everyone has a background in finance, but we all manage our money on a daily basis. You may be one of many people who wants to plan long-term but has no idea where to begin. 

No matter how old or young you are, it’s never a bad idea to seek help from an expert. Working with a financial security advisor can help you set up a plan for your money. An advisor may also suggest things you may not even have thought of.

What do I prepare before meeting my advisor?

You might be wondering, “What will my advisor want to know?” Here’s a list of four common topic areas you can expect to discuss with an advisor.

  1. Estate planning: Have you thought about what will happen when you die? Some expenses might include:
    • Burial costs, taxes/debts and mortgage payments
    • Anything you may want to leave for your family or a charity
  2. Cash flow: Whether it’s positive or negative, these types of expenses are for life’s unexpected surprises: 
    • Opportunities – large purchases, once-in-a-lifetime trips, etc. 
    • Emergencies – job loss, costly repairs, family-related problems, etc.
    • Paying off debt
  3. Income protection: It’s not fun to think about, but what happens if your health fails? Do you have money set aside for any of the following possibilities?
    • Loss of income and the ability to continue paying your bills
    • Expensive specialty care in facilities 
    • Maintaining your savings and emergency funds
  4. Retirement: What will your retirement look like? Advisors can help you plan for this too. Your plan should or may include:
    • Your lifestyle expectations
    • Travel plans
    • Leisure time and activities including memberships and hobbies
    • Tax-effective strategies
    • An idea of how long your income will last

Building a plan

You want to be ready for anything and everything. Advisors get that. After covering your needs and wants, your advisor can help you build your plan. 

Just what makes a good plan? Picture a plan as a three-section pyramid. The largest section (and bottom of the pyramid) is based on preparing for life’s uncontrollable events (for example, job loss, emergencies, etc.). The mid-section focuses on the things you have control of or your controllable events (for example, retirement, home ownership, debt elimination, etc.). From there, topping off a solid long-term plan, you can consider possible growth opportunities for your portfolio (for example, real estate, investments, etc.).

Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Financial security planning takes energy and patience. Your plan will change and evolve to keep pace with your life. Just remember, your advisor wants to help. Do you need tips on your budgeting? Have your short- and long-term goals changed? Maybe, you’re buying a house or have started a family and you need your plan to change? Your advisor can help coach you on ways to keep your financial security plan current. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or bounce ideas off them.

Contact me today to get started!