The first meeting with your financial advisor is a starting point meant to clarify your values, current financial situation, and long-term goals. It should form the basis of a transparent, symbiotic relationship where the advisor helps develop a plan that links where you are today with where you anticipate wanting to be in the future and helps you make course corrections to keep you on track as things change along the way.
It’s what happens after your first visit with your financial advisor that sets the course for your future investment strategy and goal setting. Here’s what you should expect to happen after that initial discovery meeting.
After your discovery meeting, your financial advisor will synthesize the information you provided and work to develop a financial recommendation that makes sense for your lifestyle and goals. Likely, your advisor will identify a few possible investment routes for you to choose from.
The information shared in your first meeting will give your advisor the inputs necessary to develop a personalized investment plan for you. Just because one investment style works well for other investors or you’re interested in a popular retirement plan doesn’t necessarily make it the right fit for your lifestyle and goals. Your financial advisor should be able to help you understand why certain investment options are better for you specifically.
After you receive your financial recommendation, you’re well on your way to the path that is best for your lifestyle and goals. And remember, your financial advisor should be able to assist you with decisions and implementation each step of the way. If you have questions or concerns, your advisor can point you toward answers that’ll make your decision process go more smoothly.
When you’ve settled on a recommended plan, your advisor can give you the guidance you need to put that plan into action. This include working through initial steps to set up your portfolio, as well as putting checks in place to keep track of your progress.
Once you’ve chosen a financial plan to follow, you’ll continue to work closely with your advisor to stay up-to-date on your investments and make changes to your portfolio, when necessary. Even if you and your advisor agree on a plan at the outset, it may not be appropriate for you over time. And there’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, it’s to be expected that you’ll need to change course once or twice along the way.
It’s important to stay in touch with your advisor through regular communication and maintenance meetings. This way you can stay on top of your portfolio and make updates as needed.
As tax season looms closer, you’re probably looking at your options for saving the most money and maybe even getting a decent return on the other side of things.
With tax law changes and your own personal income and investment records, this year could be shaping up to be a lot different than past years. If you think this might be the case, you’ll want to prepare yourself to minimize the shock of large fluctuations - good or bad - on your bottom line
While you gather your information for filing, consider some of the following ways to prepare your tax strategy this spring.
The 2018 tax reform bill has changed a lot about filing taxes in 2019. For one, tax brackets and rates have been adjusted, which you may have already noticed through a reduction in your 2018 paycheck withholdings.
Additionally, the standard deduction has doubled to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly ($12,000 for single filers). This might make things easier when it comes to filing deductions - if you estimate your deductions to be less than the new threshold, you may not need to bother with itemized deductions. This is an area where you may want to defer to a tax professional for the best recommendation for your income specifically.
There are other changes to the tax code, including benefits for parents of dependent children, changes to mortgage tax credits, and adjustments to healthcare reporting and regulations. Some or all of these changes may impact your bottom line, so take care to do your homework if you fall into an affected category.
Your investment income will contribute to your final tax obligation, but there are ways that you can invest wisely to avoid taking a big loss when tax time rolls around. If you’ve made any sales during the previous year, you’ll want to take careful note of regulations surrounding investment sales in order to avoid incurring tax penalties.
If you have earned returns in the form of capital gains, you’ll owe a greater percentage in taxes this year. However, you may be able to offset these gains with offsets found elsewhere in your portfolio or regular income.
Last, but not least, take some time to understand nuances in the tax code for the state in which you’re filing. Each state has tax laws that vary from the federal regulations and they could mean a significant loss or gain, depending on how well you prepare.
For example, in the state of Maryland, there are regulations for claiming deductions, depending on how you itemized on your federal tax return. With changes to the standard deduction hitting federally this tax year, you’ll want to double check whether this difference will influence how you should claim your deductions if you want to maximize both your state and federal returns.
This information is not indented to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.
Whether you’re looking to build, protect, or grow your investment portfolio, you need to base your investment decisions around a variety of factors in order to find investments which have the potential to meet your financial goals. You might consider factors like a company’s past performance, a colleague’s advice, market trends, or portfolio diversification.
Each investor makes unique judgement calls every time they make a decision to build or update their portfolio. And while it’s important to not make these judgements for emotional reasons, is it possible that there are other considerations you should take into account?
For example, how important is it to you that companies you invest in uphold certain ethical standards? Does it make a difference whether Company A has greater carbon offsets than Company B? Or whether Company C is committed to sourcing only organic inputs?
Sustainable investing is a component of investing that is related to investors finding companies that align with their moral and ethical standards. After all, if you’re going to invest your money with an organization, you may enjoy the confidence that comes with knowing your dollars are doing work you agree with.
You know it’s important to bring your values to the table when you build your financial portfolio. After all, it’s your values, rather than your emotions, that should shape your priorities and investing behavior.
When it comes to sustainable investing, your values will take an even more obvious lead in guiding your investment behavior. If, for example, you’re concerned with environmental issues, you might want to learn more about green investment options.
The concept of sustainable investing makes it possible to make sound investment decisions that fit your personal values and long-term financial goals. In fact, many investors find that companies that are committed to doing societal and environmental good may well have a similar commitment to financial responsibility, meaning that they might perform better over time.
Sustainable business practices are becoming more and more popular, which means that it’s even easier to learn whether companies you want to invest in operate in a way that you agree with. In fact, many companies have started to include sustainability reports along with their annual financial reports.
If you want to find companies that are making the kind of difference that you want to see, you can talk to your financial advisor about finding information on companies’ sustainability and corporate social responsibility reporting.
If you choose to go the sustainable investing route, you can balance your portfolio with sustainable investment options in a number of ways. Maybe you want to dip your toes into sustainable investing by choosing one or two companies to add to your portfolio. Or perhaps you’d like your portfolio to boast a larger percentage of sustainable companies.
So, you’re ready to meet with a financial advisor! You’re ready to sort out your finances and take positive steps to make solid financial decisions for your future. Whatever your goals, you know that working with a professional can help you progress toward them in a balanced way that aligns your values with your investment decisions.
Maybe you’ve got a meeting on the books or you’re getting ready to pick up the phone and make that call to schedule one, but you wonder: what is this meeting going to be like?
Read on to learn more about what you should expect from your first meeting with your financial advisor, as well as what you should bring along to that appointment.
Your first meeting - or discovery meeting - will lay the groundwork for your relationship with your financial advisor going forward. Of course, you are meeting with your advisor to get financial advice, but it’s important that you and your advisor are on the same page before they can offer that advice.
After all, building an investment portfolio certainly isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. There’s no one formula that works well for all investors at all points in time.
Your advisor needs to know who you are as a person (or couple, if you’re seeking counsel with your spouse), what your values are and how your finances play into your long-term personal goals. After all, you ideally want to use your finances to fuel something, whether that’s your retirement, estate or anything else.
At your discovery meeting, your financial advisor will ask you specific questions about your money, both to learn where you are now and where you’d like to be. This may be a tough conversation, especially since money isn’t often a topic for everyday discussion.
One of the most important things to bring to your discovery meeting is an open mind. Establishing a working relationship with your advisor requires transparency and openness in order for you to get the most out of your recommendations going forward.
You also want to bring a summary of your finances and holdings in order to give your financial advisor something to work with. Of course, these don’t tell the whole story and you will want to bring along a summary - even just a verbal one - of your goals and ideals as well. Again, the purpose here is to give your financial advisor a big picture view of your situation specifically.
Since the purpose of your discovery meeting is to establish a relationship with your financial advisor, you should expect your advisor to bring a few things to the table as well.
Most importantly, your financial advisor should listen carefully throughout your conversation to gauge your goals and values, and to get to know you better. After all, you’ll be working together on important financial decisions going forward. It’s imperative that your financial advisor does their best to get to know you before stepping in to offer advice and recommendations.
Additionally, your financial advisor will work with you determine how often you should meet after your initial meeting. Remember, you’re establishing a working relationship, not simply having an initial meeting just to get a folder full of recommendations.
Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, member FINRA/SIPC.