5 Questions To Ask In Your Annual Review

If you don’t already, you should be meeting with your adviser for a broad-based review at least once per year. Meeting with your adviser on an annual basis can be easily overlooked. For some individuals, it is simply another annual event on their calendar that isn’t given much thought.

But your annual review is an important time to sit down with your adviser and review your current financial situation. It’s important to not only listen to what they have to say, but to come prepared with your own questions.

Let’s take a look at a few questions to ask as you try to make the most of your annual review.

How will recent changes in my personal life affect my financial situation?

A lot can happen in a year and it is important to review any significant changes in your personal life with your adviser. Whether this is a change in marital status, any additions to the family, or even a large purchase that you are thinking of making, these and numerous other instances are important to address with your adviser each year.

There may be adjustments that can be made to your investments to help prepare for these personal changes.

Am I still on track with my retirement savings?

If you do not have a retirement goal, you should discuss putting a goal in place in order to achieve a secure retirement. Clients with well-defined and realistic financial goals tend to save more and are less likely to deviate from an established investment program during the market’s inevitable ups and downs.

With this goal in place, you and your adviser can take a look at your current savings, where you would like to be, and when retirement will be a possibility.

Factors in whether you are on track or not, include:

  • Determining how much money you will need in retirement
    • Based on future plans and length of retirement
  • Projected savings leading up to retirement
  • Projecting any future sources of income
  • Determining any gaps that there may be between your goal and projected savings and future income

Should any changes be made to my portfolio for the upcoming year?

More than anything, you should be comfortable with your portfolio and the current risk level. Talk about your asset allocation and review your investment’s performance and how it affects your financial situation. It’s important to remember that when you are on track with your plan and future goals, not making any changes is a decision in itself and could be the best option.

Does my financial plan align with my estate planning strategy?

It is always a good idea to review your estate planning when meeting with your adviser. This also falls into your personal life and changes in it, such as your relationships and health. Reviewing your estate plan will help ensure that your plan reflects your income and assets. This will help in documenting your wishes and protecting loved ones.

Your adviser will be concerned with matters such as beneficiaries on IRAs, but you will need to let your adviser know if there has been a change in your personal life that should be reflected in this. Consider asking yourself these questions: Who should be my primary and contingent beneficiaries? Do I have adequate life insurance? I’m concerned that my kids are going to excessively spend their inheritance. How can I protect it? These are great things to consider before the meeting. Ask your adviser for help in areas of uncertainty.

I am concerned about the market, would you please go over my account’s investment philosophy?

There will naturally be times of concern during turbulent markets. Ask your adviser to go over their philosophy. They should have an investment philosophy that is easily communicated, avoids market timing, includes global diversification, and utilizes low cost investments. They should be able to show you how this philosophy will affect your portfolio’s performance over the long-term.

These are just a few examples of questions to ask your adviser at your annual review. It is important to remember that the more financial disclosure you give, the better job your adviser can do.

Don’t just sit back and listen during your review, be an active participant! Open dialogue is best as it creates a strong relationship and level of understanding between you and your adviser.

Want to learn more? Visit our Wealth Management site to contact our team and get your questions answered.