8 tips for clients visiting financial advisers

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Meeting with your adviser? Here are eight ways to get the most out of your time together. 

Conversations with your financial adviser can sometimes be overwhelming. So what can you do to walk away from these meetings feeling happy, confident and in control? 

1. Be prepared

Verse Wealth co-founder and financial adviser, Corey Wastle, recommends you start before the meeting even begins, by letting your adviser know where you currently stand financially.

Remind yourself of the goals you made together last time. Let your adviser know of any significant changes, and how this may impact your future financial plans.

He says one of the simplest ways to achieve this is by email or, if your adviser offers an online form, complete it in advance.

“We ask those basic questions around your current situation, as well as rating a few key things out of 10, such as your current level of stress, how you feel your finances are progressing and how happy you are with your current lifestyle,” he says.

2. Put it in writing

Next up, ask your adviser for an agenda for your meeting. “That way, both the client and the adviser are working through a clear, succinct map,” says Wastle.

“Make sure you both agree on the agenda’s topics before you meet too, that way it feels like a real partnership as you go into the meeting – helping you to feel comfortable, confident and in control of the conversation to follow.”

3. Embrace your moment in the sun

Chances are it’s been several months since you last met, so it’s important to take a moment to step back and acknowledge what you’ve achieved before discussing future plans.

“How are you tracking on those life targets? Still saving for that trip to Europe? Did you end up reducing your work hours? How has that impacted your finances? This is a crucial component of the meeting in that it confirms just how much you’ve achieved, while also giving us the opportunity to dig deeper into what worked, what didn’t, and what steps we need to take next,” explains Wastle.

4. Share your concerns

Often, these conversations uncover any financial anxieties you might have. Don’t hold anything back. If you want your adviser to understand your key goals, you need to tell them how you’re really feeling about your finances.

“Are you confident? Are there certain things worrying you? Are those concerns shared by your partner?” says Wastle.

“Our job as advisers is to help you feel confident and in control of your financial life. And to do that, we have to know how you feel about it. Then we can work backwards to help resolve the challenges you’re currently facing.”

5. Consider your finance advice priorities

What was the most important thing in your world last time you met with your adviser? A lot can change in six months, so during your next catch-up it’s important you consider if those priorities have shifted. If so, ask yourself why, and how that will impact the next steps you take.

“Make sure you really nail down those new goals together and update your next steps so they align with the current goals and priorities, not the ones you might have captured six to nine months ago,” he adds.

6. Speak the same language

Do not be afraid to ask your adviser to spare you the financial terminology and keep their language clear and simple, says Wastle. You’ll never get the most out of your time together if you feel like your adviser is speaking a foreign language.

“Most people are naturally overwhelmed by the concept of financial advice. There’s so much jargon thrown around and it can, understandably, be completely disempowering for the client.”

7. Ask for illustrations

A great way to keep the lines of communication open is to complement the verbal conversation with visual back-up – that’s right, it’s time for your financial adviser to get out the whiteboard.

“Far more people in this world are visual learners than auditory, so turning words into pictures is a wise move,” says Wastle.

“Whether your adviser uses a whiteboard, slide show or printed diagrams, supporting your audio with visuals is a great way to ensure that you clearly understand what’s being discussed.”

8. Nail down next steps

Don’t let the meeting end until you’ve clearly mapped out your next steps, alongside an actionable timeline, says Wastle. “This is the best way to maximise your progress and exceed as much as possible.

“So whether you need to cut back on expenses, put more money into your super or talk to your employer about that raise, make sure your adviser helps you determine exactly what needs to be done next and within what timeframe.”

And finally, ask them to put all of that in writing following your meeting, as well as any other key learnings and topics discussed – this will keep you both bang on track for the next time you meet.

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Important: This article has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial or taxation situation or needs of any particular individual. Before acting on the information, you should consider its appropriateness to your circumstances and if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice. Any information used in this article is for illustrative purposes only. Corey Wastle is external and not a member of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Group of Companies (the Group) and the content or any views expressed by Corey Wastle does not represent an endorsement, recommendation, guarantee or advice in regard to any matter. CBA, nor members of the Group accept any liability for losses or damage arising from any reliance on external parties, their products, services and materials. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.