How often should you meet with your financial advisor?
Many people ask this question when they begin planning for retirement.
How much is too often? And how much is not often enough?
Annually? Twice a year? Quarterly? And does it have to be in person? Or would the occasional phone call or text be okay?
If you’re asking these questions, you probably feel caught in the tension.
On one hand, this is your wealth. You’ve worked hard for it and you want to know what’s going on with it. But on the other hand, you don’t want to stress or feel like you’re micromanaging every detail. You want to offload the worries to someone else and be freed up to enjoy your life.
This article is all about helping you find the perfect middleground. You don’t have to be completely hands-off with your money. But you don’t have to spend all your time in meetings either.
Read to the end and find the right balance for you.
Why Do You Need to Meet with a Financial Advisor Anyway?
Financial advisors are wealth professionals that know how to help you make smart investments, plan for retirement and transfer your legacy to loved ones.
Not only do financial advisors help you manage your blessings, they also give you peace of mind and free time.
Because they’re trained experts, you don’t have to second guess whether you’re making the right decisions. And you can trust them to do all of the active management and detailed work, while you get to make the executive decisions and spend more time with your family.
For every hour you spend meeting with a financial advisor, you’re actually saving yourself untold hours of work and worry.
So a meeting is a worthwhile investment, but how often should you meet with your financial advisor?
What’s the Best Frequency for Meeting with Your Advisor?
Ask people how often you should meet with your advisor and you’ll likely get a few different answers.
As Little as Possible?
Some people may advocate for meeting as little as possible.
The benefits here are pretty obvious. You spend less time in meetings and have to worry about making fewer decisions.
But we can’t recommend this strategy.
A financial advisor is an important relationship. You need to have someone that you trust. And you can’t develop a trusting relationship if you rarely speak.
Meeting also helps your advisor serve you well. At West Michigan Advisors, we believe the best financial planning is tailored to you. While you can offload a certain amount of decision-making, a good plan really needs your input. Only then can it reflect your priorities and goals.
We know those goals can change over time, so meet with your advisor enough to make sure your strategy grows with you. That way, it will always match your stage life and you’ll never run into any big surprises.
Should You Just Meet As Needed?
Other people advocate for meeting with your financial advisor only as needed.
That means making an appointment when there’s something big you want to discuss.
While we absolutely recommend making an appointment when something big comes up, you don’t want to wait until it does.
Instead of being proactive, this strategy often makes people reactive. And important questions often go unasked because they only come to mind when you sit down with your advisor.
For that reason, it’s important to have regular standing appointments. You can always make more as needed, but these will give you a reliable place to ask questions before they become concerns.
Let the Frequency Change Over Time
It’s important to have regular appointments, but the frequency of these may change over time.
When just beginning to work with an advisor, you may want to meet more often. At WMA, we spend a lot of time upfront getting to know you and customizing a financial plan to your needs.
But after the major blocks are in place, you won’t need to meet as often. Unless there are bigger changes, an annual meeting might be enough.
Then as you near retirement (or another important event) you might want to meet more often. This will allow you to handle big decisions with confidence.
Overall, be sure to choose the frequency that makes the most sense for you.
It is your wealth and you’re an important part of managing it!
If you want to be more hands-on or have a more active strategy, schedule more meetings. If you want to be less involved, schedule fewer. The frequency needs to make sense for your goals and lifestyle.
Do Meetings Have to Be Face to Face?
While it is important to have some face-to-face meetings, you aren’t limited to in-person communication.
At West Michigan Advisors, we like to keep in contact with our clients over the phone and through email.
That way they can always stay in the know without having to come to the office. And because they can ask questions without waiting for an in-person meeting, they feel much more in control of their finances.
Ask your advisor how they plan to stay in touch.
The Best Guideline
When choosing how often you should meet with your financial advisor, the best guideline is simple: set clear expectations.
Talk to your advisor about how often you want to sit down and discuss strategy. Tell them how often you’d like to receive calls or emails. Be clear about what things you want to be notified for and what things you want them to handle.
If you talk about expectations right away, you’ll be able to build a good relationship with your advisor. That may mean you’ll want to visit them more often. Or perhaps you’ll trust them so much you’ll just email them back from your vacation instead of running to the office.