Financial Solutions, Retirement Planning

How to Prepare for Meeting With a Financial Advisor

As seen on the WJAR NBC 10 Smart Advice Series

Working with a financial advisor to plan how to manage your wealth requires some effort on your part. Whether it’s your first meeting or a periodic update to review how you’re doing, there are a number of steps that you can take to make each discussion more productive.

First, think about defining (or reaffirming) your financial goals. While all goals are client-specific, a typical example might be planning for retirement at a certain age, with a certain annual rate of spending before and after. Other goals could include funding education for children or grandchildren, buying a second property, charitable gifting, or transferring wealth to younger generations. The clearer your goals are in your mind, the better they can be communicated to the financial advisor.

Secondly, think about your personal level of financial risk tolerance. In combination with your goals and information about your current financial condition, your financial advisor can help determine how to most suitably match your willingness to tolerate market volatility with a proposed investment strategy, in addition to determining the time horizon needed to meet your financial objectives.

You can help prepare for each meeting with your financial advisor by gathering pertinent financial data, including investment, mortgage and insurance statements, estate documents, information on benefits provided by your employer, and your most recent income tax return. If you have additional financial relationships managed by someone other than your financial advisor, those should be taken into consideration as well. More upfront detail will provide your financial advisor with more data to help you create a plan on how to achieve your goals.

At the outset of the planning process or as time progresses, your current financial status and future goals may not always appear to be clearly connected. One of the primary functions of a financial advisor is to create this connection by discussing with you how your choices of goals, risk tolerance and time horizon may impact your financial future. Over time, your goals or risk tolerance may require readjustment to reflect changes in important aspects of your life (for instance, children, career moves, or other important events) and in financial market conditions. Those discussions are most meaningful if these considerations are well defined and updated to reflect changes in your life, financial condition and goals.

While the up-front preparation for meeting with a financial advisor might sound complicated, it is generally a very insightful process. The time and effort should be quickly repaid by gaining the comfort that the most important aspects of your financial life are being managed in partnership with an informed and trusted advisor.

Contact a Washington Trust Planning Officer at 800-582-1076 or email us at for smart advice that’s focused on your unique financial goals.

The opinions expressed in this blog should not be considered a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any security. It does not take into account any investor's particular investment objectives, strategies, tax status or investment horizon. Please consult with a financial advisor, portfolio manager, attorney or tax professional regarding your specific investment, legal or tax situation.

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