Ques­tions to ask your fi­nan­cial ad­viser at your an­nual re­view

The Niagara Falls Review - - Arts & Life - JOHN BEYER Spe­cial to The Ni­a­gara Falls Re­view John Beyer, CFP, is a fi­nan­cial ad­viser with the Ni­a­gara Falls bro­ker­age firm of Ed­ward Jones. Visit the web­site at www.ed­ward­jones.com.

You should al­ways be able to ask as many ques­tions as you’d like when work­ing with your fi­nan­cial ad­viser. So, be­fore you have your an­nual re­view, think care­fully about what you’d like to ask. Here are a few sug­ges­tions:

Are my goals still re­al­is­tic?

When you first be­gan work­ing with your fi­nan­cial ad­viser, you may well have ar­tic­u­lated a num­ber of fi­nan­cial goals. For ex­am­ple, you might have said that you wanted to pay for your chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion, or that you wanted to re­tire at a cer­tain age, or that you wanted to travel for two months each year dur­ing your retirement. In fact, you could have many dif­fer­ent goals for which you’re sav­ing and in­vest­ing. When you meet with your fi­nan­cial ad­viser, you’ll cer­tainly want to ask if you're still on track to­ward meet­ing these goals. If you are, you can con­tinue with the fi­nan­cial strate­gies you’ve been fol­low­ing; but if you aren’t, you may need to ad­just them.

Am I tak­ing on too much — or too lit­tle — risk?

The fi­nan­cial mar­kets al­ways fluc­tu­ate, and these move­ments will af­fect the value of your in­vest­ment port­fo­lio. If you watch the mar­kets closely ev­ery day and track their im­pact on your in­vest­ments, you may find your­self fret­ting con­sid­er­ably over your in­vest­ments’ value and won­der­ing if you are tak­ing on too much in­vest­ment risk for your com­fort level. Con­versely, if you think that dur­ing an ex­tended pe­riod of mar­ket gains your own port­fo­lio ap­pears to be lag­ging, you might feel you should be in­vest­ing more ag­gres­sively, which en­tails greater risk. In any case, it’s im­por­tant that you know your own risk tol­er­ance and use it as a guide­line for mak­ing in­vest­ment choices, so it’s def­i­nitely an is­sue to dis­cuss with your ad­viser.

How will changes in my life af­fect my in­vest­ment strat­egy?

Your life is not static. Over time, you may ex­pe­ri­ence any num­ber of ma­jor events, such as mar­riage, di­vorce, chil­dren, new jobs and so on. When you meet with your fi­nan­cial ad­viser, you will want to dis­cuss these types of changes, be­cause they can af­fect your long-term goals and, con­se­quently, your in­vest­ment de­ci­sions.

How are ex­ter­nal forces af­fect­ing my in­vest­ment port­fo­lio?

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, you will want to cre­ate an in­vest­ment strat­egy that’s based on your goals, risk tol­er­ance and time hori­zon. And, as men­tioned above, you may need to ad­just your strat­egy based on changes in your life. But should you also make changes based on out­side forces, such as in­ter­est rate move­ments, po­lit­i­cal events, new leg­is­la­tion or news af­fect­ing in­dus­tries in which you have in­vested sub­stan­tially? Try not to make long-term in­vest­ment de­ci­sions based on short-term news. Yet, talk with your fi­nan­cial ad­viser to make sure your in­vest­ment port­fo­lio is not out of align­ment with rel­e­vant ex­ter­nal fac­tors.

By mak­ing these and other in­quiries, you can help your­self stay in­formed on your over­all in­vest­ment pic­ture and what moves, if any, you should make to keep ad­vanc­ing to­ward your goals. A fi­nan­cial ad­viser is there to pro­vide you with valu­able expertise — so take full ad­van­tage of it.

DREAMSTIME

A fi­nan­cial ad­viser is there to pro­vide you with valu­able expertise — so take full ad­van­tage of it, writes John Beyer.

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