​ During our first appointment, we spend a lot of ...
During our first appointment, we spend a lot of time asking questions.  We always say that there’s no right or wrong answer, and this is true.  However, we also get asked a lot of questions during these appointments, and although it seems strange, there is such a thing as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ questions to ask your financial planner.
The wrong questions include; anything that either can’t be answered, or where the answer will be the same for everyone. For example:
  • When’s a good time to invest?
  • What’s a good investment return?
  • What’s the share/property market doing?
  • Is property/shares a good investment?

If a financial planner is being honest, all of these types of questions should get some variation of these three responses:  ‘it depends’, ‘I don’t know’, or ‘for what?’.

The right questions include; anything that can only be answered by someone who knows your situation, or something you need to know in order to achieve your goals.  Some of these include:
  • How much money will I need to retire?
  • What should my superannuation be invested into?
  • What investment return do I need in order to meet my goals?
  • How much do I need to save each pay cycle?

A rule of thumb here is that a good question should include a first person personal pronoun… which is basically a fancy way of saying ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘our’, etc.  Also, all of these questions should relate back to a goal that is specific to you (i.e. what does retirement look like for you, and when would you like this to happen).  Another good rule of thumb is that your financial planner should be able to give you a concrete answer (yes, no, X amount).

For most people, the initial stages of meeting with a financial planner aren’t necessarily about getting answers to your questions.  In many cases, we need to take a step back and work together to come up with the right questions, the ones that you really need the answers to.

So if you’re not getting a straight answer, you either need to change your questions, or your financial planner.

Written by Dallas Davison.
Published by Dallas Davison. May 3, 2017