Broker Check

When Did You Last Meet With Your Advisor?

| June 17, 2022

                The recent economic outlook has many living in a state of panic. Yes, we have historic inflation, the stock and bond markets are down, and interest rates are up. This reminds me of the famous Hank Williams, Jr. song, “A Country Boy Can Survive,” which begins with, “the preacher man says it’s the end of time,” but then goes on to explain that the hard-working country boy can survive because he is self-sufficient and has grit. While I am not a country boy, I do believe that good habits, planning, and self-discipline are essential to experiencing a great outcome with your financial planning. This month we will discuss why regular meetings with your advisor are important, what should be discussed during the meetings, and how frequently you should meet.

                Habits are vital to one’s mental health given all that can happen throughout the year. Regular meetings with your advisor will help you navigate the complexities of your financial life with less anxiety and stress. Granted, there will be times when meeting with your advisor will be stressful, especially lately, but the benefit of establishing trust is that you can more easily, comfortably, and honestly lay out your fears and anxieties. Advisors can’t change what is happening in the market nor predict the future, but they can usually assist you in traversing the choppy waters so you make wise investment and planning decisions.

                While each meeting agenda might differ, the general framework should be consistent with your planning objectives. We believe the agenda should always begin with an opportunity for clients to voice their concerns, comments, and questions. This way the meeting starts with open dialogue. Additionally, the hope with this approach is to elicit more feedback and conversation (the goal should be to limit any lecturing or pontificating by the advisor). The meeting should also include summaries of performance and activities to ensure accuracy. Moreover, there should also be an accounting of current cash flow and cash on hand. This might not seem meaningful, but by determining the cash on hand we can assess whether spending is outpacing income or if there is an opportunity to deploy cash or bolster cash. Accompanying these questions with planning objectives is also important, as we have found that it is better to hold home-buying cash separate from investing cash and emergency cash.

                 It’s recommended that you also discuss the frequency of your meetings in advance with your advisor. There are no one-size-fits-all situations. I would suggest that it is a convergence of emotions and complexity. The complexity of your estate is not necessarily easy to determine offhand, but some easy-to-determine markers are that you have multiple trusts or entities and/or you have complex tax returns. The implications of employer stock compensation, for example, can lead to the desire for more frequent conversations. Your emotions are also extremely important to consider when planning the meeting schedule; whether your situation is simple or complex, your emotional well-being perhaps matters most because it can lead to better (or worse) decision-making throughout your entire financial planning process. All that said, for many clients, quarterly meetings are appropriate. For some, the addition of monthly check-ins helps to limit anxiety, while for others with simpler financial situations, an annual check-in is likely sufficient.

                The hope is that this article improves your understanding of how to frame your relationship with your advisor. As mentioned, building strong habits can ensure better mental health. In addition, having a framework around each meeting with an organized agenda will help ensure that you continue to meet your planning objectives. And lastly, meeting consistently will limit anxiety and guarantee that you’re conveying and sharing timely information and data with your advisor. The past several years have been difficult on all of us, and, as we wade into the future, I hope that the wealth and health of you and your family continues to grow.


Peter T. Waldron, California Insurance License #0E47827, is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors, a broker/dealer, member SIPC, and offers investment advisory services through Sagemark Consulting, a division of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a registered investment advisor, Trailblazer Wealth, 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 190PO Box 528, Alamo, CA 94507. Trailblazer Wealth is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors. Insurance is offered through Lincoln Marketing and Insurance Agency, LLC and Lincoln Associates Insurance Agency, Inc. and other fine companies. This material is for use with the general public and is designed for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, tax, or direct investment advice. Lincoln Financial Advisors does not offer legal or tax advice. CRN-4793108-061622