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Navigating Your First Meeting: Key Questions for Your Financial Planner

Introduction:

Embarking on a financial journey with a financial planner is akin to charting a flight path toward your fiscal goals. The initial meeting with a financial planner is critical—it sets the tone for your financial trajectory and ensures that your planner aligns with your financial aspirations. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Aergo Financial Planning offers conflict-free, advice-only financial planning in person and across Canada via video conference, such an approach is increasingly popular. Here are some pivotal questions to ask during your first meeting with a financial planner.


1. What is Your Financial Planning Philosophy?

Understanding a planner's philosophy is crucial. It's like understanding the principles of flight before taking off. Ask about their approach to investment—do they favour active management or passive index-based strategies? Given that Aergo Financial Planning believes in passive strategies and views insurance as a tool rather than an investment, it's important to ensure your planner's philosophy resonates with yours.


2. How Do You Charge for Your Services?

Financial transparency is key. Just as an airline needs to understand the fuel costs for a journey, you need to know how your planner charges for their services. Do they work on a fee-only basis, charge a percentage of assets under management, or operate on commissions? Aergo Financial Planning, for example, prides itself on being conflict-free, avoiding commissions to prevent potential biases.


3. Can You Provide a Clear Roadmap of Your Financial Planning Process?

Inquire about the steps involved in their financial planning process. A clear, step-by-step plan should be laid out, similar to a flight plan detailing the route from takeoff to landing. This should include initial assessments, goal setting, strategy implementation, and ongoing reviews.


4. How Do You Tailor Financial Advice to Individual Needs?

Financial planning is not one-size-fits-all. Each individual's financial situation is as unique as their fingerprint. Ask how the planner tailors advice to individual circumstances. Aergo Financial Planning emphasizes getting to know their clients personally before making recommendations, a practice that ensures more personalized and effective planning.


5. What Are Your Qualifications and Experience?

Knowing your planner's qualifications and experience is as important as knowing the qualifications of a pilot. Ask about their certifications (like CFP® or CFA®), years in the industry, and the types of clients they typically work with. While the CFP® designation is the gold standard when it comes to financial planning as a whole, there are a plethora of other designations that may be more helpful in your specific situation.


6. How Do You Approach Investment and Risk Management?

Understanding a planner's approach to investment and risk is like understanding a pilot's approach to navigating turbulence. Ask about their strategies for risk assessment and management and how they balance investment growth with risk.


7. Can You Provide References or Testimonials?

Ask if the planner can provide references or testimonials from current or past clients. This will give you insight into their reliability and effectiveness.


Conclusion:

Selecting the right financial planner is a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. It's a partnership that will guide you through your financial journey. By asking these questions, you can ensure that your financial planner is not only qualified but also a good fit for your individual needs and financial goals. Remember, your financial journey is unique, and finding a planner who understands and supports your flight path is key to achieving your financial aspirations.

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