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- What brings you to a planner?
- What do you think financial planning can do for you?
- What past planning or financial experiences have you had?
- Are you committed to being involved in the process?
- How will you define planning success?
- Who and what do you care about, and why?
- How would you know if you were living life the way you want to?
- What would your ideal day look like? Your ideal year? How do you know?
- What is your wildest unfulfilled dream?
- If money was no issue: Where would you go, what would you do, who would you be with?
- If you had only one year to live would you have any regrets? Anything you want to address?
- What are you willing to do to live the life you want? What are you not willing to do?
- What makes you fret?
- What is your greatest fear?
- What one thing would you change about your life for the next year?
- What would happen if you don’t change it?
- How do you feel about money? About wealth?
- What do you think about money?
- What is important about money to you?
- What does success look like? What could happen to ruin your vision?
- Describe your personal wealth (life lessons learned, wisdom, knowledge)
- Describe your social wealth (family, friends, community)
- Five years from now, what personal and financial events would have happened for you to consider our relationship a success?
Budget and Discipline
- Do you spend less than you earn?
- Do you pay yourself first?
- Can you define your financial priorities?
- Define your true necessities.
- Do you have many accounts in different places?
- Are all of your assets supporting your goals and visions?
- Itemize your financial wealth (assets, liabilities, net worth)
- Are there any assets in another state? Country?
- Assets include: Cash, Savings/Money Market Accounts, Investment/Retirement Accounts, Options, Annuities, Real Estate, Business Interests, Personal Property (cars, furniture, jewelry, collections), Loans Payable to you, etc.
- Liabilities include: Loans, Mortgages, Taxes Payable, Alimony/Support Payments, Credit Card Balances, etc.
- Do you have ownership interest in a business? Is there a buy/sell agreement in place?
- Are there any current or potential health issues? With Parents? Children?
- What is the plan should an emergency occur?
- Cash on hand
- Family Support
- Carrying any credit card balances?
- What are your rates on major loans? How do they compare to what you’re earning on your investments?
- Do you have a home equity loan or creditline?
- If you own your own business, are your benefits sufficient?
- Are you utilizing your employer benefit plans to their fullest?
- Tax deferred retirement savings/matching
- Pre-tax accounts for Health Care or Dependent Care
- Cost-effective Health/Dental/Vision/Drug Care Choice
- Reasonable Insurance Coverage
- Long-Term Care
Financial Freedom (Retirement) Planning
- How do you define Freedom?
- What does Freedom look like?
- Where will you live? Where will you travel?
- Will you want to work part time? What will you do with your days?
- Will you volunteer? Where? Will you seek more formal learning?
- At what age would you like to achieve financial freedom? (Defined as: A time where you do not need to earn an income through working.)? Why?
- Would you like to support your children’s/grandchildren’s education?
- What will you be spending each year?
- What steps do you currently take toward financial freedom?
Legacy (Estate) Planning
- How would you like to be remembered?
- What do you want for your heirs? Why? Is your legacy only monetary?
- Do your heirs know why they will be receiving assets? Do you?
- Are you interested in watching your heirs enjoy their inheritance?
- Would you rather give money to charity or the government? What if your heirs get less?
- Who would you like to receive your assets should you die unexpectedly?
- Who would you like to manage your assets should you die unexpectedly?
- Who would you choose as custodian for your minor children?
- Do you know where important papers are? Original Wills/Trusts? Does someone else?
- Who else knows the location and combination to your home safe(s)?
- Does someone else know how to access your cell phone? Email? Computers/Tablets? Online Accounts? Password Manager? Home Wi-fi Network? Other Electronics or Cloud Storage?
- What would happen with your Digital Assets? Email, Cloud Storage, Ancestry Records, DNA results, Entertainment/Shopping accounts, Bank/Brokerage accounts, Social Media, Software Licenses, Website (hosting, blogging, domain names, content), Virtual Fax (eFax or equivalent), Travel Accounts, CSA/Wine/other subscriptions, online Photos, etc.
- Do you have any of the following: wills, living wills, powers of attorney, health care powers, trust documents?
- If you have a trust, is it funded? Do your asset titles support your plan?
- Are your beneficiary designations consistent with your wishes and tax deferral goals?
- Have you filed any gift tax returns for taxable gifts?
- Do you anticipate inheriting property of significant value?
- Are you a beneficiary of an existing trust?
- Have you considered lifetime gifts to reduce estate taxes?
- Are there enough liquid assets available to avoid rush sales of real property to pay taxes?
- Have you named backup executors or trustees in estate planning documents?
- What would happen if your chosen executor or trustee refuses to serve?
- Describe your past experiences with financial advisors of all types. Good? Bad?
- Why do you invest? How have you made investment decisions in the past?
- Are there any particular investments you like? Dislike?
- How do you react emotionally when you see ‘the market’ make large moves up and down?
- What is your need for current income from your investments?
- Describe your current investments:
- Personal Possessions/Liabilities
- Life Insurance/Policy Loans
- Collections of coins/stamps/antiques and art
- Other real assets and liabilities used to finance them
- Bank accounts and other money market securities
- Stocks, bonds, options and other capital market instruments
- Investments in real estate and mortgages on them
- How do you feel about your tax situation?
- Are you paying sufficient taxes to avoid penalties?
- Are you using tax deductible and/or tax deferred accounts?
- Which funds do you use for charitable donations?
- Have you considered taxes while saving and paying for college?
- Have you considered tax implications of your estate plan (or lack thereof)?
- List your advisors and indicate permission to contact directly:
- Trust and Estate Attorney
- Investment Advisor
- Insurance Agent
- Business Attorney
- Have you been married more than once?
- Do you have any children from a prior marriage?
- Are you a U.S. Citizen?
- Do you have any other dependents?