As financial planning conversations deepen and explore more value, we find ourselves moving from the empirical to the emotional, from processes to perceptions and from products to people. It’s an enlightening journey that takes us away from numbers and allows us to reflect and reconstruct our future planning approach.
But, it’s also extremely challenging as we find questions we can’t easily answer; but, that’s still healthier than having answers we can’t question! This point of reflection helps us form questions that enable us to navigate the flow and rate of change around us. The questions empower us to see choices more clearly and engage with our life and financial plan in a significant and impactful way.
But, before we make any changes to our investment portfolio, there are some helpful questions to ask. A recent article from fbfs.com offered several questions; here are some of them.
Am I working with a financial adviser I can trust?
In the same way, our personal and professional relationships depend on strong bonds of trust; our relationship with our money needs the same foundation. And, this begins by working with a financial adviser we can trust.
We all have blind spots (which is why financial advisers ALSO NEED financial advisers for their personal portfolios!), so it’s not just about working with someone our bank recommended; it’s about working with someone who we know, like, and trust.
How have my circumstances changed?
Some life changes are apparent, and we don’t need someone to help us spot them, but other life changes are slow and gradual. When we’ve been working with a trusted financial adviser, they can help us track and identify the gradual changes that will impact how we invest and plan for the future. Not all life changes require a shift in funds, but some might. This is how we build an investment strategy that consistently reflects what is important to us.
Has there been a change in my risk tolerance?
Various factors influence risk tolerance, but one of the most significant is our investment horizon. Ask yourself: “Has my financial timeline changed?” For example, if you’ve decided to move your financial independence (retirement) date, this might change your investment strategy. Your financial situation or a change in your risk preferences could also trigger tweaks to your investment portfolio.
Are any of my funds underperforming?
This is probably the question we ask ourselves most… but it’s also one of the most detrimental if not answered correctly. A bad week, month or even year may not be a valid cause for concern for long-term investment strategies. However, consistent poor performance over several years may yield a legitimate concern and reason to reflect on your fund selection. But, even so, it still needs to be taken in the context of the entire portfolio and the outcomes for which we’d hoped.
No matter how much we plan and how meticulous we might be, things generally never go directly according to plan. So there will always be reasons to feel like we need to switch funds; some will be valid, others won’t be. Hopefully, this blog helps you prepare for your next financial planning conversation!