Working with a financial advisor is a good way to understand and manage your money, assets, and obligations. The topic covers lots of ground, though. When you conduct your first consultation, you should organize the discussion around these four issues.

Debt Management

As much as people want to make the most of their money, the first order of business is making sure you're managing your debt the right way. Debt is a useful tool. Leverage allows people to get home and vehicle loans, invest in options, pay for trips, and deal with emergencies.

However, your debt load needs to be reasonable. Likewise, you want to finance your debt at as low of interest rates as possible. If you have loans with high interest rates or large debt loads, you want to consolidate those into more manageable loans whenever possible.


A good financial plan needs consistent inputs. Your income is the tool that allows you to generate more money. Investing in home equity, the stock market, real estate, bonds, and other vehicles allows you to generate returns. A portion of your income should go into these growth vehicles, but you have to determine how much to invest.  A financial planning advisor will compare your income to your current needs to ensure you strike the right balance between life right now and your future.

Long-Term Goals

Financial planning consultants can also help you manage your money to achieve specific long-term goals. Common goals include buying your first house, starting a business, paying for a wedding, getting a second home, putting kids through college, and funding your retirement. Financial planning consultants can track your progress toward these goals so you can hit your mark.

Insurance and Other Risk Management Tools

Keeping the bottom from dropping out is just as important to your financial health as getting ahead. You want to have the right insurance policies relative to your risk exposure. Foremost, everyone should be prepared for the cost of healthcare. Secondly, you need to consider the possibility of a long-term disability. If you have a business or work in a licensed professional practice with risk exposure, those are more considerations.

You may also need to use financial tools to mitigate risks. Someone who owns lots of property, for example, might need to buy options in countercyclical investments to guard against the market bottoming out. Contract and corporate structures also can mitigate risks in some cases.

Contact a financial advisor for more information.