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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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