The importance of fact finding in financial planning
A fact-finding interview allows a dedicated financial planner to provide the best service possible to their clients.
Working together, fact-finding can provide an abundance of useful information which will identify key elements of a client’s life that can structure their future and help us to recognise how they can fulfil their life’s goals and ambitions.
One way that a financial planner will begin a fact-finding exercise is by sending the client a checklist to complete, ahead of a start-up discovery meeting. This will comprise of basic questions including questions about you, your family, your health, your plans for the future, along with details about any dependants you may have.
Always make sure to keep your options open as your financial planner will help you to prioritise your life according to your aspirations. So, if you have dreams that you think are unaffordable or unattainable, don’t rule them out as this is what your financial planner is there for… to help you achieve.
Here are some of the most important factors that your financial planner will need to know about you:
Health & lifestyle
Retirement is a key age to focus on your health. Inform your financial planner of your current health status, along with any previous issues and procedures you may have had.
This is extremely important as a previous diagnosis, may lead to a significant improvement in your pension income.
A customer must provide as much information as possible about their existing and previous assets, this includes; bank accounts, savings, shares, property and ISA’s. If you are unable to provide this yourself, or don’t know how to go about it, with your permission, your planner can contact the providers and seek that information themselves, in order to advise you appropriately.
There has been a significant increase in the amount of people who reach retirement and then dedicate their time to looking after both elderly and younger relatives. If this relates to you then you must let your financial planner know, also informing them if you would like plans to be made to secure your relatives’ financial future, as well as your own.
Your financial planner will then make changes according to your requests; this could be things such as saving to pay for a younger relative’s wedding or an older relative’s care costs.
If you are going into retirement with outstanding debts, credit card bills and interests on loans which must be paid then it’s important to inform your financial planner, as they are able to help you with debt repayment strategies.
When meeting with your financial planner, provide as much information as possible about your current employer schemes and any preserved benefits. Bring as much evidence as possible about your current expenditure such as annual statements.
Your state pension, along with any existing pension schemes you may have are an important part of your retirement income, so always remember to inform your financial planner of these, no matter how small you think the income will be… you may be surprised.
Income and expenditure
Your spending habits will most likely change during retirement. Rather than your income being used on commuting and work clothes, it’s more likely to be used on club memberships or holiday funds. You may wish to receive different incomes over different periods of your retirement. For example, you may want to work part-time and have your pension income just to top it up, until a more substantial employer pension scheme then comes into payment.
Overall your financial planner must have a solid understanding of how much ‘essential income’ you need as a minimum per month, along with how much ‘lifestyle income’ you would like. You must always make sure your lifestyle income reflects the life you want to lead.