“Is that everything?” I asked Claire during our first financial planning session together.
“I feel like I had an IRA … or was that a Roth IRA?” she replied. “I also remember contributing to a 401(k) three employers ago, but how would I go about tracking that money down?”
This type of exchange isn't unusual when I begin working with a new client. During our first session, I try to get a better understanding of the person's financial situation by having them aggregate their account balances in my client portal and upload backup documentation, such as account statements and tax returns. For some clients, this is a relatively straightforward exercise because they've been tracking their financial situation all along. However, for most people, like Claire, this may be the first time they've dug into their financial situation in so much detail.
As you can probably tell from my conversation with Claire, the initial onboarding process can be long and painful – but in the end, it pays off. I can tell that my clients come away feeling more in control of their financial situation, and ready to start making progress on their financial goals. In Claire's case, we were able to track down and consolidate several different retirement accounts that she had. Not only was Claire able to save a significant amount on investment fees, but she's gained peace of mind by being able to better track and manage her savings.
That's the power of compiling a ...