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Getting personal on the first ‘date’ with your financial planner






Part 1 of the ‘Advice on your adviser’ series: Questions that may arise
Is marriage on the cards? Do you want kids? Is there a specific illness in your family history? Some people can be a little taken aback by just how personal a first visit to a financial planner can be. Money matters are often private and in order to get to know a new client, an adviser needs to gently delve into some of the serious – and sometimes tough – things to discuss. If you’re unsure of what to expect from your initial chat with a new adviser, Madri Jacobs CFP®, Sanlam Senior Financial Planner, provides the below breakdown of the questions you may be asked and the documents you might have to provide.
What’s the purpose of the first visit?
Your first visit should involve a general discussion about your personal circumstances and goals. It’s an opportunity for your new financial planner to get to know you and to understand your expectations. Additionally, it’s a chance for you to understand the financial planning process and to understand more about your spending and saving habits. The key is to be as open as possible: the more information the financial planner has, the better he or she can advise you.
Importantly, you probably won’t discuss any products. “Financial planning is not about buying policies and choosing investment products: it’s about you and your goals, needs and provisions. 
At a later stage, your financial planner may recommend certain solutions based on your identified needs,” says Jacobs.
What should you aim to get from the meeting?
  • An understanding of how the financial planning process will benefit you.
  • Whether you think you can have a relationship with the planner – is he or she a good fit for you?
  • Clarity on things you were uncertain of. Did the planner give good answers and guidance in response to the questions you asked?
  • Thorough understanding of the fees involved.
What are the questions you’ll be asked?
Here are some of the questions you may be asked, or some of the discussions that may arise. Your first discussion may not necessarily delve into this much depth, but it is helpful to have an idea of the answers before you meet your financial adviser for the first time:
  1. Do you have any debt? What is the interest rate on your debt and over which term is it payable?
  2. You will also talk about your goals. For example, when do you plan to retire, are you saving for a house or to travel? Or do you plan to emigrate at any point? Where are you going with your career – and would this development translate to further study and study loans? 
  3. What does your current financial portfolio look like? What provisions have been made for yourself (and your dependents) should you no longer be able to earn an income? Have you provided for your retirement?
  4. Do you have medical aid and/or gap cover? What’s covered and what are your premiums?
  5. Do you have short-term insurance? What is covered? What are your premiums? Have you claimed in the past?
  6. Are your tax returns up to date? Do you understand the different taxes you pay?
  7. Are you a saver or a spender?  Are you risk averse, or bold when it comes to making investment decisions?
  8. How many dependents do you have? Who will look after your dependents if you were to become sick or disabled? Are you planning to start a family soon, or have you started saving for your family yet?
  9. Is your will up-to-date? Do you have a valid will?
  10. Are you a beneficiary to a trust? Who are the trustees? And is there an independent trustee?
  11. Is marriage on the cards for you any time soon? What do you understand about the various marital regimes in terms of the financial implications? 
  12. Do you have any business interests, like shareholding and directorships?
  13. In terms of health discussions and illness –while it may not always be addressed in the first meeting, if there is a specific medical concern and history you have, feel free to share it. At a later stage, sensitive questions around topics like weight may arise, and difficult topics like cancer in the family or your own illnesses may arise. This is treated with a lot of empathy and sensitivity. Don’t hesitate to tell the planner if something is a sensitive topic as it helps to frame the questions or conversation.
  14. Your financial planner may also use this session as an opportunity to gauge your understanding and knowledge of financial planning and services.
What documentation or information do you need?
Typically, the first session is just a discussion, so usually if you don’t have any documentation available yet, it’s alright. However, should you wish to be proactive and get the ball rolling quickly, the following information will be very useful:
  • A payslip
  • A list of assets, liabilities and monthly expenses
  • Your existing will if you have one
  • Your marriage contract if applicable
  • Settlement agreement if you are divorced
  • A benefit statement from your employer if applicable
  • A retirement fund membership booklet from your company if applicable
  • Policy documents (existing contracts, investment documents, etc.)
  • Personal documents (ID and proof of address)
  • Medical aid and/or gap cover documents.
Click here to read Part 2.
For more information, visit
Source: Atmosphere Communications
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