When you first start working with a financial planner, it can be difficult to know what questions to ask and how best to work with your advisor. Even if you’ve had your financial planner for some time, it’s worth keeping in mind that he or she can’t always be thinking about what you need, too. That’s why it’s important to take steps to make sure your financial planner can give you the best possible service. Here are six ways to get the most out of your financial planner.
1) Listen to your financial planner
Just because you’re shelling out money doesn’t mean your financial planner knows what they’re talking about. So don’t just sit back and nod along—listen, ask questions, and get real results. You want your planner to be a partner in your success, not just another expensive voice in your ear.
2) Ask questions
If you’re paying someone for help, it only makes sense that you should have a clear understanding of what they’re providing. Don’t feel shy about asking your financial planner how they can help you reach your goals and what they plan on doing to get there.
3) Don’t be afraid to have an opinion
A good financial planner will be able to tell you a lot about what you need, but remember that it’s your money, and only you know how much risk you’re willing to take on. Don’t be afraid to tell your financial planner that their plan isn’t ideal for you; they may need more information before they can give you a better estimate of what kind of return on investment they expect.
4) Use your financial planner as a guide, not as an expert
The value in hiring a financial planner is that he or she can help you set goals and implement steps toward accomplishing them. But if you don’t work with your planner as an equal partner, you might be missing out on some big opportunities.
A good working relationship allows both you and your financial planner to use one another’s strengths—you benefit from their knowledge and they benefit from your outside perspective.
5) Embrace technology
The plethora of financial apps out there can be confusing and overwhelming. A good financial planner will be able to direct you toward reliable resources, as well as help you assess which apps fit your individual needs.
If you want a smartphone app that keeps track of your budget, your planner will know what’s available—and which ones are best for your needs. It’s his or her job (and knows best) so embrace technology! It could really make things easier on you in the long run.
6) Be diligent about budgeting
It’s easy to let a financial planner set your spending limits and tell you how much you can or cannot spend. But, ultimately, it’s up to you—and only you—to follow through. If there are any outstanding bills that are still lingering on your desk for more than a week, call them up and ask them what’s taking so long.