Ask Ellen: Your questions answered

How do I prepare for a meeting with a financial planner?

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A financial consultant at Fidelity, Ellen O'Connell, CFP® recently answered one of your money questions.

How do I prepare for a meeting with a financial professional?

I often hear from my clients that they aren't sure what to expect—or even what questions they should be prepared to answer when they first start working with a financial professional. My goal is simply to get to know you and understand what is important to you so I can help you achieve it.

Here's how I suggest you prepare. Before the meeting, ask yourself: What am I looking to achieve and accomplish? Examples: Pay down student debt, save for college, get my retirement on track, buy a home or new car.

Bring your financial information to the discussion: Pull statements from retirement accounts, Social Security statements, pension estimates, and any other savings and investment accounts.

When we first meet, I'll ask you common questions like the following: What are your financial goals? Who are you planning with and who are you planning for? What are your biggest financial concerns? And I'll tell you what it's like to work with a consultant like me.

Next up, we would review your current financial situation—that's where your statements come in handy. It's really important to take a look at your full financial picture, and if you have a spouse or partner, I encourage you to bring them to the meeting or they can join by phone. I feel it's important to make sure everyone is on the same page.

I typically schedule 60 minutes to make sure we have the time to discuss your goals and your everyday financial needs. If you don't have the time, I'll try to accomplish what you want in the time that you have available, and I can schedule a time to meet again so we can continue the planning conversation.

Working together, by the end of our first meeting, I will have helped you begin building a plan to decide what actions to take to help you achieve your goals . Over time, I will continue to work with you to evaluate your plans and to offer ideas to help you achieve your goals. Life happens, goals change, or new goals are added. We are here to help you make sure you can get and stay on track to achieve them.

About Ellen

Ellen O'Connell is a financial consultant at Fidelity’s Investor Center on Congress Street in Boston. Throughout her 20 years with Fidelity, Ellen has helped clients develop actionable financial plans to achieve their individual goals and improve their financial wellbeing. Most recently, Ellen worked on the women investors squad, focusing on empowering women to become more engaged with their finances.

Ellen holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Merrimack College and is a Certified Financial PlannerTM.

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