Ques­tions to ask your fi­nan­cial ad­viser

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Arts & Life - JOHN BEYER

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 ad­viser, you may have ar­tic­u­lated a num­ber of fi­nan­cial goals. For ex­am­ple, you might have said you wanted to pay for your chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion, or you wanted to re­tire at a cer­tain age, or you wanted to travel for two months each year dur­ing retirement. When you meet with your fi­nan­cial ad­viser, you’ll cer­tainly want to ask if you're still on track to­ward meet­ing these goals.

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, you may find your­self fret­ting con­sid­er­ably over your in­vest­ments’ value and won­der­ing if you are tak­ing on too much risk. 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. In any case, it’s im­por­tant that you know your own risk tol­er­ance and use it as a guide­line for mak­ing in­vest­ment choices.

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 mee your ad­viser, you will want to dis­cuss these types of changes, be­cause they can af­fect your long-term goals.

How are ex­ter­nal forces af­fect­ing my in­vest­ment port­fo­lio? Gen­er­ally speak­ing, you will want to cre­ate an in­vest­ment strat­egy based on your goals, risk tol­er­ance and time hori­zon. . 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?

John Beyer, CFP, is a fi­nan­cial ad­viser with the Ni­a­gara Falls bro­ker­age firm of Ed­ward Jones. Visit the web­site at www.ed­ward­jones.com.

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