Navigating through the financial journey can be tricky but your financial adviser can help sort out your personal finance issues. Most first meeting are free so get the most value. Make a list of questions. Think through your goals, what do you want to achieve?

Only authorised financial advisers (AFA) are able to offer full advice.

Financial advisers have a common practice to conduct a discovery meeting with a new client. So for a successful initial meeting with your financial adviser, do everything that you can to be fully prepared. Take all your personal and financial details and these all information and documents can provide an insight to your adviser for your current financial situation, lifestyle, values and goals. Here are some tips to prepare for an inceptive consultation with a financial adviser.

1. Be open-minded for a healthy discussion

To take a full advantage of your consultation time, you should have an open mind when you take a financial advice from someone. It is always advisable to consider financial planning questions and prepare to share your views and responses to your financial adviser. The more you share about your goals, financial situation and family needs, the better your financial adviser will be able to deliver optimal solutions.

A financial adviser will need to know:
? Your age
? Your personal income documents
? Family income
? Any possible health or probable external circumstances that might affect your finances
? Projected future income levels
? Daily expenses
? Monthly expenses such as credit card payments, mortgage, rent or loans
? Future expenses
? Assets and liabilities
? Current investments or investment account details if any
? Tax returns
? Basic information such as birth dates and address of joint account holders and beneficiaries
? Number of dependents

2. Prepare a list of questions

Write down all your questions. If, after the initial free first meeting, you see the value of having a financial plan prepared, you will be committing to a plan fee and the advisor needs all the jigsaw pieces of your life to create a plan that covers all your questions and goals. The more information you share the better the “picture” you will get.

3. Work out financial matters with your partner

Talk to your partner. This is a crucial step before taking any advice from any financial adviser. Do a favour to your financial adviser and have a one-one-one conversation with your partner and explore agreements and disagreements over joint budgeting, savings and investing. The focus should be on your strengths as individual as well as a couple as well as the planning you need to do.

4. Be realistic and be prepared to talk about your goals

Don’t expect immediate answers and solutions. You will be beginning a financial planning journey. Be realistic in front of a financial adviser and consider all aspects in this process.

Financial goals are something more substantial than dreams or wishes so sit down and have a word with your family about your career, life stages and goals. In the investment world, higher potential returns require additional risks. Generally you do not require maximum return in every area. As is so often said, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”

5. The second meeting

After the first meeting the adviser should have should have most of the information required. There may be follow up work required from you to fill in some gaps that you will have sent to the adviser. At the second meeting, the financial adviser should have a draft plan to discuss with you and work through any fine tuning. There may be some priority selections for you to make in you plan as now your will begin to see what is realistic and achievable.

6. Understand how the adviser is paid

After the free initial session (usually 40 mins), the adviser is required, under Financial Markets Authority Code, of you details on the experience and competency of the adviser and how they are paid. The adviser will agree with you a fee for the financial plan. When you come to implementing the plan, you should understand how the adviser will be paid for providing you with solutions. It may be by a fee or commissions. Either way the adviser has a legal obligation to act in your best interests. Fee advisers take away any ambiguity! All the advice should be fully documented.

Note: Some advisers provide an online free financial health check, which is a powerful way of preparing for the first meeting.

Varun Jani is the personal assistant to Michael Taylor AFA whose Disclosure Document can be found at This article is of a general nature and no substitute for personalised financial advice