Meeting with a financial adviser
Starting with a financial adviser
You've chosen an adviser. Now it's time to make an appointment
and begin the process of getting advice.
This page gives you some tips on what to do before your first
meeting and how to judge whether the adviser is the best choice for
How to prepare for your
Before you meet the adviser for the first time, do some
preparation. Good advice depends on a clear picture of your
For example, you could start by listing:
- What you own - your home, savings, super, car, shares and other
- What you owe - debts including mortgages, loans and outstanding
credit card balances
- Income and expenses
- What insurance you have and for how much
- Whether you have an up-to-date will
Copies of your pay slip, savings account and super statements
will also help the adviser get a snap shot of your finances.
Use the budget planner and money health
check to get an overview of your financial situation.
Think about your goals
It's also helpful to do some advance thinking about your
priorities and goals so you can go to the first meeting with a
'brief' for the adviser.
For example do you want to:
- Pay off your mortgage sooner?
- Build wealth and save for retirement?
- Save for your children's education?
- Make the most of an inheritance?
Also think about the type of advice you'd like. Are you
expecting the adviser to prepare a broad financial plan or do you
want advice on a particular area of your finances?
See types of financial advice for
more information about your advice options.
Case study: Sam and Diane get ready
wanted to get our relationship with the adviser off to a
constructive start. We spent several evenings preparing before our
first meeting. We arrived for the meeting with a rough budget and
paperwork on our investments, insurance and loans. Most
importantly, we had discussed what we wanted to achieve in the 3
years before we retired and then, in the years after finishing
work. Our adviser was pretty impressed and it helped to focus the
At your first meeting
Make sure you give your adviser accurate information at the
first meeting. If you are not honest with your adviser or leave
something out, you could get advice that's wrong for your
situation. Tell the adviser if you can only give limited or
You also need to be clear about which issues will be covered and
which ones won't be. Once you've established the scope of the
advice, the adviser will be able to give you an idea of the cost.
See financial advice costs, for more
A good adviser will work with you to help identify the most
suitable strategy to achieve your financial goals.
Part of this strategy should be to protect your capital and get
reasonable returns from your investments, without exposing you to
too much risk. Higher potential returns usually come with higher
risks. Never agree to an investment product or strategy that you're
not comfortable with or don't understand.
Your attitude to risk can change with time and circumstances. If
you've agreed to ongoing advice, you need to tell your adviser if
your ability or willingness to take on more or less investment risk
For more information see risk and return.
Learn more about the principles of investing from our Investing between the
Judging your financial
It's easy to be swayed by an adviser's confidence,
approachability and friendliness. Don't let this affect how you
judge the first meeting. Here are some things to consider before
you go any further with the relationship.
|Generally, the meeting will have gone well if:
||You should reconsider your choice of adviser if:
- Asks you about your circumstances and helps you identify your
- Has explained the scope of the advice they can provide based on
the amount you're willing to pay
- Is happy to explain complicated financial concepts until you
- Pressures you to sign documents that you haven't read or don't
- Doesn't ask about or listen to what you want
- Seems to be pushing one solution, regardless of your needs
(such as a self-managed super fund or borrowing to invest)
- Are confident that the adviser understands your situation,
needs and goals
- Are clear about the service you're receiving, what the advice
will and won't cover, and how much it will cost
- Don't understand why a particular strategy is appropriate for
- Don't feel comfortable asking for explanations or feel
intimidated by your adviser
Getting the advice
At the end of the first meeting your adviser will go away, do
some further research and put together some recommendations. You
will receive the recommendations in writing, usually at a
face-to-face meeting, where the adviser will explain the
recommendations and discuss the reasons for choosing one path or
product over another.
See what to look for in
financial advice for more information about judging whether the
advice is suitable for you.
Think about your financial goals and priorities
before you meet with a financial adviser for the first time. This
will help the adviser come up with a financial plan tailored to
your needs and tolerance for risk.
Last updated: 31 May 2016