Today’s the big day. You’re nervous. Sweat beads on the back of your neck as you choose what to wear — Professional? Casual? Snappy-casual?
Settling on the latter, you pop an Altoid in your mouth and head over to the Choice Financial Wealth Management offices. It’s time for your first date with your financial advisor.
Like all firsts, a first financial date can be daunting. Money is one of the most intimate parts of our lives, and meeting with someone to strategize your dollars can make you feel vulnerable. You want to be with someone you can trust.
Meet Matt Bowar, father of two, golf enthusiast, and financial advisor at Choice Financial Wealth Management. He spent his first five years post-NDSU as a teacher at West Fargo high school, coached baseball, and maybe most importantly, is a veteran of the financial first date.
Matt shared some of his first financial date get-to-know-you material with us. After all, Matt says, he can’t make good recommendations if he doesn’t know how you handle money.
Here’s a few to help you prepare and conquer those first-date nerves.
Non-awkward first date Q’s:
Who is your employer and what is your income?
Not normally the topic of first date discussion, but with a financial advisor it’s totally okay. This is laying the groundwork for the beautiful money management palace you and your advisor will create. They need to know the basics: how much money you have, what your job is like, and if you’ll likely be changing jobs in the future.
Where is your money?
Now that you two have talked about how much money you have, advisors need to know where you’re putting it. Bank accounts? Investments? Stuffed in a mattress? No hide-and-seek dollars here.
Do you have loans?
If you’re one of the 43 million Americans with student loan debt, [can I get a *woot woot?*] financial advisors are here to help. They can factor in loans, debt, mortgage, and all other payments into a slick budgeting plan.
What is your risk tolerance?
Everyone’s risk tolerance is vastly different. For instance, it can change depending on your age. If you’re younger, you might be willing to take more risks with your bucks than you would be if you’re nearing retirement… but, of course, that’s not always the case! In order to determine where you fall on the risk spectrum, Matt uses a simple risk tolerance test. This involves activities such as cliff-jumping and skydiving. Just kidding. It’s a written test that determines where you fall on the risk spectrum in terms of money-handling. Not as exciting as skydiving, but still helpful.
Are you a spender or a saver?
Key question. And no optimistic answers here — if you like to spend, better get that out in the open right away. Not only will Matt use this to strategize, but he also can be aware of it as he coaches you to be “fiscally responsible” aka “stop buying stuff you don’t need.” Help him help you.
What do you like to do in your free time?
This one may seem unrelated, but Matt says it is actually very important to understanding the full picture. Do you like to travel? Do you like to shop? All these things will allow Matt to plan out the perfect budgeting plan to reach your life goals.
What are your long-term financial goals?
In order to strategize for the future, the future needs to be a concrete goal. It’s important to work backwards from the goal in order to save effectively. Sub-questions here are, how much income do you want? How much do you need? How much do you want to have when you retire? These are all final destinations to establish now, and work toward over many years.
Securities are offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. Investment advice offered through GWM Advisors LLC dba Goss Advisors, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial. Choice Financial Group and Choice Wealth are not registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives of LPL offer products and services using Choice Wealth, and may also be employees of Choice Financial Group. These products and services are being offered through LPL or its affiliates, which are separate entities from, and not affiliates of, Choice Financial Group or Choice Wealth. Securities and insurance offered through LPL or its affiliates are:
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