One of the most common questions every financial adviser hears is,”What shall I bring to a meeting?
In order to maximize your time with a professional (visit www.letsmakeaplan.org to find a CFP® ), I suggest six steps to take first:
1. Pull a truly free copy of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com (your scores are based on the report information)
2. Pull a copy of your accrued Social Security Benefits ( Yes, you will be able to receive a benefit in the future)
3. Gather up your employee benefits books or intranet site, last year’s tax return (first two pages is a good beginning) and any company retirement plan/bank/credit card/student loan statements.
4. Write down some family lessons that you learned about money (take 5 minutes and see what you come up with). For example, never borrow money, save 10% of everything, always buy on sale, etc. Walking up and down every grocery aisle was one of mine.
5. List your expenses (all of them), and then your income. See how they match up to the 50/30/20 rule. 50% needs/30% wants/20% savings. (from the book called All Your Worth by Warren and Tyagi)
6. What are your financial hopes and dreams? Retire at 50, travel around the world for one year, start your own business…do share those with your adviser as well.
Now you are more knowledgeable about your financial past and present, so that you can use a professional to discuss your financial future.
PS: You may decide to interview more than one person. Prepare these items and see who asks questions on any of the topics.