How to Make the Most of Your Yearly Meeting
Your life and goals are constantly evolving, and it’s important your financial plan does the same. Hopefully you meet with your financial advisor at least annually to go over progress toward your goals and discuss how any recent changes in your life should be incorporated into your financial plan. At a minimum, be sure to cover the following topics in your annual review.
#1 – Any changes that occurred in your life over the past year
Your financial plan should be a dynamic document that’s regularly revised to remain up to date with any changes in your life and financial situation. Talk with your advisor about any changes that have occurred with your employment, health, family situation (such as a marriage or the birth of a child), assets (such as receiving an inheritance) and overall financial objectives. Your advisor will use this information to update your financial plan and ensure it continues to meet your ever-evolving needs.
#2 – Investment performance and allocation
Your advisor should provide an annual review of your investment performance to assess your portfolio’s progress in helping you achieve your objectives. Part of this review should include a look at your investment allocation to determine whether any changes should be made based on current market conditions, your risk tolerance, your time horizon and any changes to your goals or personal financial situation that occurred over the last year.
#3 – Fees
If your advisor isn’t transparent about their fees, you may have a problem. Finding an advisor who is fully transparent and discloses investment fee details is critical. If not properly accounted for, investment and management fees have the potential to significantly erode your investment performance over time. Your advisor should be using low-cost investment products whenever possible and should be up front and honest about the fees he/she is charging to manage your portfolio.
#4 – Progress toward your personal financial goals
What’s the point of working with an advisor if he/she isn’t helping you achieve your personal financial goals? At least once per year, your advisor should provide a recap of your progress and update you on next steps.
#5 – Goals for the upcoming year
Your annual review should also include a discussion of your upcoming short-term goals. Do you anticipate any changes to your personal financial life over the course of the next year? Perhaps you’re due for a raise or bonus. Maybe you’re planning for a wedding or the birth of a child or grandchild. Whatever changes may be on the horizon, be sure to share them with your advisor and discuss strategies for incorporating your annual goals into your overall financial plan.
#6 – Tax planning opportunities
Your annual review is a great time to discuss opportunities to lower your taxes. Your advisor should be proactively implementing tax-saving strategies, such as tax-loss harvesting, asset location, charitable giving and more.
#7 – Estate planning documents and beneficiaries
Work with your advisor to review your estate planning documents and beneficiary designations to ensure they continue to reflect your wishes, given any changes that occurred in your life over the course of the year. If necessary, work with your estate planning attorney to update the documents.
Does your advisor go over each of these topics in your annual review? If not, it may be time to schedule a call with Creative Planning. Our experienced professionals work to ensure every aspect of your financial life is well cared for and working to help you achieve your long-term goals. We consistently review and update your financial plan and investment portfolio as your life and goals evolve over time, keeping you updated and informed every step of the way.