First Meeting with Your Financial Advisor

Identify financial goals with your financial advisor. Build a plan to help achieve them. It's that easy.

Find a Financial Advisor

Whether it’s investing some extra income, preparing a future for your family with your retirement secured, or saving for a home or education costs, we’re here to coach you through it.

We'll discuss your financial goals to understand what's most important to you, and together we'll create a step-to-step strategy to help achieve them. And if anything changes along the way, we'll help you adapt and stay on track. 

What to expect from your first meeting with a Financial Advisor

Before your first meeting, it's best to know what to expect. A financial advisor helps you develop a long-term financial strategy, chart the short-term steps to help you stay consistent and adapt to unexpected events in your life or in the market. They also advise you on the financial product and service options to help you invest accordingly and live the life you want.

Financial advisors can not only help you find ways to fund your retirement, but can help you devise a strategy to help work toward your dream home, send your kids to college, upgrade your own education, minimize the taxes you pay and even plan for early retirement.

Build confidence by researching your financial advisor 

Write a list of questions around investment topics and products, as well as the firm's reputation, and some thoughts on the kind of relationship you'd like to build with your financial advisor. This can help build confidence as you begin your research.

1.Start with form ADV—which investment advisors use to register with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC)—by visiting the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure site. (If you're having trouble finding the ADV for your financial advisor, search for the firm’s name under the “Firm” tab at the top left). Form ADV has three parts:

Part 1: The investment advisor’s business

Understand how the advisor's firm operates, and how they build and maintain relationships across business segments, including:

  • Business practices
  • Clients
  • Employees
  • Affiliations
  • Ownership
  • Any disciplinary events related to the advisor or employees

Part 2: The firm's advisory programs 

Develop a richer understanding of the details and requirements of the firm's products, services and processes, including:

  • Account/program requirements
  • Services
  • Fees and compensation
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Disciplinary information 

* These documents are the primary disclosures to clients, and a great source of information about programs relevant to you. 

Part 3: The Client Relationship Summary 

Identify key information that may not be explicitly called out in branded materials to better educate you and support your decision, including: 

  • Services offered
  • Fees and costs associated with services
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Required standard of conduct
  • Legal and disciplinary history
  • Helpful questions to ask the financial advisor
  • Sources to find further information

You can also read these online resources to check background information, including certifications and registrations. 

2.Be sure to check out your financial advisor’s and firm's websites. Make sure the information aligns with what you find on the regulatory sites. If not, it may create questions you want to add to your list.

3.Check out the financial advisor's corporate or personal social media channels to get a sense of their personal profile, education, personality and values. Reach out to family, friends and colleagues who can share experiences they may have with the firm or advisor. This gives insight into their values to help you make the right choice.

As you research, you can also review the products and services your financial advisor offers. Make a list of the ones that interest you and jot down questions about the investment programs, services and fees that seem confusing. 

What should you bring to the meeting?

In addition to thoughts and questions you have from your research, pull together information that gives your financial advisor a snapshot of your current financial status to help them get started: 

  • Income statements (pay stub, W2 or 1099 if you're a contractor)
  • Federal and state tax returns 
  • Financial statements (retirement accounts including 401(k) and IRAs, investments, bank statements, CDs, assets, annuities, etc.)
  • Debt (mortgage, college debt, credit card debt and loans) 
  • Life insurance policies
  • A monthly budget that includes your typical expenses
  • Your plan for the unexpected (an illness, another child, or unemployment). Most financial advisors suggest having a savings nest egg that will support you through six months to one year.
  • A summary of your personal and professional purchases, investments and needs.
  • Near-future goals: expanding your family, buying a home or car, planning a vacation, getting a college degree, or starting a business
  • Goals as you age: owning a larger home, college education for kids, medical care or living expenses for your parents
  • Personal life goals: When do you want to retire? What will you want to do? Will you want to travel or take up a hobby? 

Topics to discuss with your financial advisor during your first meeting

At Edward Jones, we’ll start by getting to know you, what's important to you today and your plans for tomorrow, so you can live the life you want. We also want you to have every opportunity to get to know us. Be sure to ask questions about our philosophy of investing and our approach to the client/advisor relationship. We'll be there to support you, every step of the way. 

You'll want to ensure you share effective communication with your financial advisor and that they understand you, and vice versa. Is your financial advisor actively listening to what you're saying and taking your wishes and opinions into consideration as you talk? If so, your relationship with your financial advisor will be a long and worthwhile one.

We also want to get a feeling of your investment experience and comfort with risk.

  • How much do you want to be involved in your investment decisions?
  • Are you more of a hands-on investor or do you prefer a guided approach?
  • What’s your tolerance for risk?
  • Are there types of investments you are particularly interested in?
  • How often do you like to communicate and how — in person, online or telephone?
  • How often do you want to meet?
  • Do you feel comfortable getting updates via online access or mobile app?

After getting to know more about you, we want you to know about how we can help you. We'll share what programs and services we offer and information about our related fees, and we may provide options for your specific situation. 

Following this conversation, you and your financial advisor will agree on a specific short- and long-term strategy, a clear progress check-in timeline, as well as a list of actionable next steps.

After your first meeting with your financial advisor 

  • Whether you feel comfortable working with this person long term 
  • Your current financial status in comparison to where you want to be 
  • Action items you need to complete to accomplish your goals, such as saving a set amount or tackling some debt
  • Action items your financial advisor has committed to
  • How you can track your progress toward your goals
  • How often you will communicate with your financial advisor 
  • How you can touch base with your financial advisor if you have a timely need
  • Who else you will work with in the firm
  • Services, products and programs your financial advisor can help you with
  • The time frame for your next meeting  

How can Edward Jones help me? 

We'll work to understand what's important to you, follow an established process and build personalized strategies that can help you achieve your financial goals. Throughout our partnership, we'll continue to revisit your goals and risk tolerance to help you stay on track. By working with your tax professionals, estate attorneys and insurance specialists, we can create a comprehensive approach for you and your needs. 

Contact an Edward Jones financial advisor today to get started.