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How to prepare yourself when you’re speaking to a financial adviser

June 30, 2023 | 4 min read 

Summary: Here's a list of actions you can take to prepare before speaking to a financial adviser that can help you achieve the maximum benefit from the discussion.

Key takeaways

  • Openness and transparency about your financial circumstances and your future goals is key when speaking with a financial adviser.
  • Having all your relevant financial documentation ready to share will help your adviser make the best determination on your course of action, whatever your financial goals are.
  • Being on top of your current financial situation and understanding the level of investment you are comfortable with prior to engaging an adviser will help you achieve the right outcome from your discussion.

Discussing or disclosing personal financial circumstances can be a somewhat daunting prospect, but the benefits of getting valuable advice that is specifically tailored to your financial circumstances and goals can make it a more worthwhile undertaking.

As with most things in life, to get the very best outcomes, preparation is key.
Here's a list of actions you can consider taking to prepare before speaking to a financial adviser that will help you achieve the maximum benefit from the discussion:

Define your goals

  • Determine your financial goals – Be sure to cover both short and long-term goals, such as saving for retirement, buying a house, or paying off debt. Clarifying your objectives will help the financial adviser to better understand your needs.
  • Rank your financial concerns - Focus on the most pressing issues you want to discuss first. This will help to ensure that your top priorities are addressed.
  • Be realistic - Understand that financial planning is a process that takes time. Be realistic about what can be achieved and set achievable goals. This will help you have a productive conversation with the financial adviser and set realistic expectations for your financial future.

Organise your financial documents

Gather all relevant financial documents, including bank statements, investment statements, tax returns, insurance policies, loan agreements, and any other relevant paperwork. Having these documents readily available will facilitate a more fruitful discussion with a financial adviser.

Review your current financial situation

Evaluate your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Create a budget (or review your existing one) to understand where your money is going, then identify areas for improvement. This will provide the financial adviser with a snapshot of your current financial standing, allowing them to provide appropriate advice and recommendations.

Assess your risk tolerance

Consider your comfort level with taking financial risks. Think about how much volatility or potential loss you are willing to accept when making investment decisions. This information will help the financial adviser suggest suitable investment options.

Prepare a list of questions

Write down any specific questions or concerns you have regarding your finances. This will ensure that you cover all the areas you want to discuss during your meeting.

Research financial topics

  • Educate yourself – Take some time to study financial concepts or areas of interest relevant to your situation. This will enable you to have more meaningful discussions with the financial adviser and better understand their advice.
  • Research your expert - Learn about the financial adviser you'll be speaking with. Look at their qualifications, experience, and specialties. Check reviews or recommendations to ensure they are reputable and trustworthy.
  • Understand the financial jargon - Familiarise yourself with basic financial concepts and terminology. This will help you better understand the recommendations and advice provided by the financial adviser and enable more meaningful discussions, and if there’s anything you don’t understand, always ask for clarification.

Understand your financial habits

Reflect on your spending patterns, saving habits, and any financial challenges you may be facing. Being aware of your financial habits will allow the financial adviser to provide tailored guidance and strategies to improve your financial situation.

Consider your timeline

Identify any time-sensitive financial goals or upcoming events that may impact your financial decisions. Whether it's planning for retirement, funding education, or starting a business, knowing your timeline will help the financial adviser provide appropriate strategies and recommendations.

Be open and honest

Share your complete financial picture with the financial adviser. Be transparent about your income, debts, expenses, and financial obligations. This will enable them to provide personalised advice that aligns with your unique circumstances.

Be ready to take notes during the meeting

During your conversation with the financial adviser, take notes on key points, recommendations, or action steps discussed. These notes will serve as a reference for future decision making and help you stay on track with your financial goals.

Remember, everyone’s financial situation is unique, so you should seek advice from a qualified financial adviser who can provide personalised guidance based on your specific needs and circumstances.


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  • This article has been prepared by NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited ABN 80 008 515 633 AFSL 236465 (NULIS) as trustee of the MLC Super Fund ABN 70 732 426 024. NULIS is part of the Insignia Financial group of companies comprising Insignia Financial Ltd ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (‘Insignia Financial Group’). The information in this article is current as at November 2023 and may be subject to change. This information may constitute general advice. The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions based on this information. It is recommended that you consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) before you make any decisions about your superannuation. You can obtain the latest copy of the PDS (or other disclosure documents) and TMD by calling us on 132 652 or by searching for the applicable product at You should not rely on this article to determine your personal tax obligations. Please consult a registered tax agent for this purpose. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue. The case study examples (if any) provided in this article have been included for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied upon for decision making. Subject to terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, neither NULIS nor any member of the Insignia Financial Group accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in the information in this communication.