5 Tips to Prep for Your Financial Session

You’ve taken the step. You’ve made the contact. Your appointment with a financial professional is now on the calendar. But don’t stop there. I encourage you to make the most of your session by prepping ahead. It will help you narrow your focus on what really matters and what you want to take away from the session. Below are my five tips.

5 Tips to Help Prepare for Your Appointment

One, define specific goals. Two, consider portfolio needs. Three, discuss life events. Four, take stock of your progress. Five, name your purpose for the meeting.

Tip 1 – Define Specific Goals to Discuss

There’s nothing wrong with socking money away for “someday.” However, sharing a specific goal with your advisor will help them better define a path for success. What’s that look like?

Turn your “I’m saving for someday” into “I’m saving to have a steady paycheck after I quit working.” Here are some general goals and examples of how to make them specific to you.

  • Retirement – I want to quit working at age 55.
  • College savings – My 12-year old wants to become a doctor.
  • New business – I want to be my own boss in five years.
  • Estate plan – I want to make sure my family is secure.

Tip 2 – Consider Your Portfolio Needs and Wants

Closely aligned with specific goals are your investments. Think about how you feel about your current portfolio and if it’s doing the job you think it should. Most people want to know if they’re invested the right way. Your advisor should help you know if your portfolio works for the specific goals you named. Below are questions to discuss:

  • Is my portfolio aligned with my long-term goals?
  • Am I able to sleep at night when markets are volatile?
  • Is my portfolio built to address my concerns about (inflation, taxes, lasting long enough…you fill in the blank)?

Tip 3 – Discuss Current or Future Life Events

Many people turn to an advisor when something happens—positive or negative—because they realize their money needs have changed. Discussing life events with a financial professional can help you adjust for new circumstances. Even if things are status quo now, it helps to plan for the unexpected. Below are life events that can impact your money.

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Family addition (birth or adoption)
  • Family member illness or death
  • Job change or loss
  • Caring for someone else (aging parent, adult child, someone with a disability, grandchildren)
  • Nearing retirement

Tip 4 – Take Stock of Your Plan Progress

Most financial professionals focus on planning. It’s part of their job to help you prepare for the expected and unexpected. Knowing where you are in the planning process can set the direction for your overall financial plan.

Whatever you do, don’t shy away from this topic—even if you don’t feel far along. It’s important to move forward from wherever you are. Here’s what an advisor may ask you:

  • Do you have a budget?
  • Do you have an emergency fund?
  • How do you feel about your retirement savings progress?
  • Do you have a plan for income in retirement? (May depend on how far away you are).
  • Do you have a college savings plan (if needed)?
  • Do you have an estate plan?

Ready to prep for your next session?

Use the Financial Session Guide to prepare.

Tip 5 – Name Your Purpose for the Meeting

Following Tips 1 through 4 will hopefully help you realize the one, two or three things you most want to accomplish during your session. Write them down and have them handy at your meeting. Even better, complete our Financial Session Guide and email it to your advisor before your appointment. It will help your consultant prepare for the meeting too.

No appointment? Our consultants are here to help with your financial needs.

The opinions expressed are those of American Century Investments (or the portfolio manager) and are no guarantee of the future performance of any American Century Investments' portfolio. This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.

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