Did you know that the most important part of a financial planning meeting occurs even before you set foot inside your financial adviser’s office?

Before you meet for the first time, you need to do your homework. Even the most professional adviser can’t help you if you haven’t done these three things:

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1. Make a list of your current income and expenses, as well as future anticipated income and expenses. Then, create a careful inventory of your net assets. Include any property you own, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, savings and pension plans. To make this easier, use these trackers to organize your information.

2. Outline your goals.  Take a realistic look at what you want to accomplish beyond paying your monthly bills.  Do you have large college tuition expenses or wedding bills looming in the future?

When do you wish to retire? All of the various factors that may affect your future goals and desires should be written down before you meet with your financial planner so they can be included in the plan.

3. Buy a box of tissues either for the disappointing news that your aspirations are beyond your means or for the tears of joy when you find that your dreams are within your reach. While meeting with a financial planner can help create order an increased chances of reaching your goals, it shouldn’t bring any surprises.

The more complete your list of net assets, the more thoughtful your goals, and the more realistic your expectations are, the greater the chances of your reaching them… and the better you’ll sleep.

If you’re like me, even the most comfortable eye shades won’t help you fall asleep unless your finances are in order. A financial planner can’t make miracles or predict the future. However, if the clients supply accurate information and realistic goals, together they can create a financial plan to maximize chances of reaching your life goals.

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Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, is the director of Profile Investment Services, Ltd, a financial planning and investment services firm specializing in working with Americans living in Israel who have investment accounts in America. Doug’s newest book, co-authored with Susan Polgar, about using chess strategies to improve your finances, Rich As A King can be purchased at www.richasaking.com. He is a licensed financial professional both in the U.S. and Israel. Securities offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, FSI. Accounts held at Pershing LLC., Member NYSE/SIPC, a subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. Neither Profile nor PRG gives tax or legal advice. Before immigrating to Israel, it is advisable to consult with a tax attorney who is knowledgeable about Israeli law. Contact at doug@profile-financial.com
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