A common misconception is that the role of a financial advisor is one of answering your financial questions. While that is an important component of our role, it is just one aspect of it. A more important responsibility is to ask questions not answer them. Questions that can only be answered by you - the client. Questions that many times cannot or should not be answered on the spot. Questions that require intentional thought and consideration. Questions whose answers form the foundation for an effective strategy and plan for you and your family.
Effective wealth planning is not a mechanical process where you provide basic personal and financial data and out pops the appropriate financial plan and investment strategy. To be truly effective, it requires more engagement. It’s a more iterative process.
In today’s fast pace life, it is so easy and common to not dedicate sufficient time to contemplate what the needs, desires and fears are for yourself let alone for your spouse and for your other family members. It is even more uncommon that you have conversations with your spouse and family members about these matters.
One of the most important components of our job is to encourage you to take time out of your daily schedule and invest in these important tasks. Yes, homework is an important part of the process.
Start with yourself.
- What’s important to you? What do you want from your professional and personal life?
- Do you have a desire to retire at some time? If so, when?
- Do you have a family business? What are your ownership and management succession plans
- Where do you want to live? What type of activities do you want to pursue in the future? Start a new career? Volunteering and other philanthropic pursuits? Travel? Spending time with grandchildren? Taking up new hobbies?
What about your spouse? What are their answers to these questions? Are you in sync?
What about your children and grandchildren?
- What are their needs, desires and fears? Education? Entrepreneurial ambitions? Professional and personal aspirations? Weddings? Children? Charitable inclinations? How can you support them? How will you help enlighten their lives and lives of others?
Who are the key players in your wealth plan? Have your spouse and your heirs met them? Does your spouse and your heirs know them? Do they trust them? Does your spouse and age appropriate heirs know the basics of your wealth plan? Do they have the practical financial and investment knowledge to fulfill their future roles and responsibilities under your plan? If not, have you identified the resources available to prepare and assist them?
If your advisor is not prompting you to ask these questions, you are likely with the wrong advisor. At Telemus, the foundation of our organization is based on a holistic approach to financial life management. We have the experience and resources that go beyond the basics of an investment and estate plan to assist you in developing, implementing and supporting appropriate ongoing strategies for you and your family.
Let us help you consider these and other important questions and utilize your answers as the foundation for your strategy and plans. Let’s start the process !