American Funds ®

Investing Basics

How to Prepare for a Meeting With Your Financial Professional

Navigating the financial waters can be tricky, but your financial professional can help. Use this 3-step guide to prepare for a productive meeting.

Meeting with your financial professional is an important opportunity to discuss changes in your financial goals or to prepare for retirement. This 3-step guide can help you organize your goals ahead of time so you can have a productive conversation when you meet.


Write Down Your Financial Goals

To create a realistic plan, think about your biggest financial goals and how you want to prioritize them.

Start organizing your priority list by asking yourself these questions:

  • When do you want to retire? What lifestyle do you want in retirement?
  • Do you need to set aside money for a child for college?
  • Are you saving for a down payment on a home?
  • Do you have loans or debt? Is paying it off a priority?
  • Do you have an emergency fund?


Make a List of Questions for Your Financial Professional

To get the most out of your meeting (whether it’s your first meeting or an annual review), come prepared with questions that your financial professional can help you answer.

Here are some questions you can ask to get the conversation started:

What is my financial situation?

  • Re-examine your investment goals, time horizon, risk tolerance and financial circumstances. Have any of these objectives or circumstances changed since your last meeting?
  • Have you recently moved into more conservative investments? If so, make sure to ask your financial professional if your current mix will still allow you to meet your long-term goals.

Do I need to reconsider my time horizon?

  • How long is your time horizon? Your investments can be more growth-oriented if you have a longer time horizon.
  • Do you have multiple time horizons for different financial goals?
  • Can you adjust your plans to retire?

Have recent changes in my personal life affected my financial situation?

  • You may need to adjust your investment mix to provide for a job change or early retirement, a change in marital status or the birth of a child, a child or grandchild entering college, or grown children or parents who need financial assistance.
  • This is also a good time to review your beneficiary information.

Am I on track with my retirement savings?

If not, your financial professional may suggest a number of strategies to help build up your assets prior to or during retirement, such as delaying retirement until you’re at full retirement age.

Is my portfolio properly diversified to meet my financial goals?

Ask your financial professional if you should adjust your investment mix around different asset types (stock, bonds, cash) or geographic regions (U.S., international, global).


Gather Documents to Bring to Your Meeting

Your financial professional won’t be able to get into specifics without an accurate picture of your financial situation.

Make sure to bring this information to your meeting:

  • Latest statements for all your accounts (e.g., IRAs, 401(k)s, 529s, savings)
  • Information about other investments or assets (e.g., stocks, real estate)
  • Compensation details (e.g., pay stubs, pensions, Social Security, inheritance)
  • Monthly expenses (e.g., credit cards, mortgage/rent, loans)
  • Recent tax records
  • Estate planning information (e.g., trust, will, life insurance)

Remember, you don’t have to go it alone. Your financial professional is a valuable resource who can help you create a financial strategy that meets your needs and goals.

Investments are not FDIC-insured, nor are they deposits of or guaranteed by a bank or any other entity, so they may lose value.  

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund prospectuses and summary prospectuses , which can be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing.