Who Sets Goals in Financial Advising?

In any relationship between a financial advisor and a client, there has to be some give and take. Any advisor worth their salt will take the time to get to know the client before making any investment recommendations or goal setting. The critical first step in this relationship is taking the time to get to know the client both as an individual and an investor. This is necessary for the finance professional to get a reasonable idea of where the investor is coming from. Once a basis for understanding is established, goal setting can begin and the partnership can go forward.

Financial Advising is a Partnership

The key to understanding this paradigm is to recognize that the work of financial advising is essentially a partnership or a team effort. The personal finance pro does not merely crank out a list of investments and ask for a check from the client. This sort of behavior would not do consumers much good, and certainly wouldn't result in very many referrals.

The partnership begins with an assessment of the current situation. If you have a stable income, little or no debt, and a solid credit profile along with substantial capacity to invest, you can probably move forward right into investment strategizing and get into the market. However, most of us are not in this kind of position when we first encounter a financial advisor. More than likely there are one or more issues effectively hamstringing your capability to invest. Dealing with these issues and bringing them to resolution, then, is the first part of the plan of action you and your financial advisor come up with together. Advisors can highlight different programs and ideas you might take advantage of, and will make strong recommendations about how to prioritize your budget to squeeze more out of less. But it is up to the individual client to take this advice or leave it. Ultimately, the choice is up to you.

Advisors Rely on Client Cooperation

As they dig into your personal finances and notice patterns in your income and spending, financial advisors will come up with ways you can address cyclical debt and credit issues and areas you can work on to improve your short and long term financial outlook. But to help you get anywhere and to accomplish anything, they rely on your cooperation. This is not to say that clients are under total obligation to do everything their advisors tell them to do. In fact, the opposite is true. It is your money, after all. But placing your trust in the advice of your financial advisor is essential if your goals are ever going to come to fruition.

Goal Setting the First Step

Of course, it must be pointed out that financial goal setting between the financial advisor and the client is only the first step in their relationship. Over time, the two of you will continually assess your progress, monitor any investments and evaluate their performance, and make changes based on financial needs or changing circumstances leading to new or revised goals. As this process plays out, both sides need a great deal of flexibility and willingness to adapt and respond to whatever might come. Whether you have a child and want to begin saving for college, purchase a vacation cottage, or have to suddenly care for an elderly parent who is in decline, this flexibility is an absolute necessity. Working with a top notch financial advisor can give you the insight and the access to tools and programs to help you respond when surprises hit your life.

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