Before any meeting with a financial advisor
It is important to prepare for the meeting.
- Be clear about what you want. Is it general advice on financial planning, or advice about one specific issue such as an investment, a mortgage or starting a pension?
- Do some research and find out about different products available and check our jargon buster for financial terms so you have a better understanding and prepared.
- Once you have done the research prepare a list of questions that you want to ask.
- Bring documents to your meeting that your advisor may need (such as proof of your identity and income).
- Gather information on any financial products that you have, such as any loans, mortgages, investments or other assets.
At your meeting
- Always answer your advisor's questions fully and honestly. It will help you and your advisor to get a clearer picture of your overall circumstances and make sure you get good advice.
- Take notes during the meeting in case you forget something, and ask questions about anything you don't understand.
- Take time to consider any recommendations carefully, and don't sign anything unless you have read and understood it.
Questions to ask
There are some questions you should ask your advisor, regardless of the type of product you are getting advice on:
- How does this product meet my needs?
- What are the product charges? How do they compare with similar products?
- Are the charges ongoing or are they once-off?
- What would happen if I missed a regular payment on this product?
- What, if any, ongoing service can I expect if you receive a commission?
There are also specific questions you should ask if you are getting advice on investments and pensions, insurance, mortgages or pensions.
Investments and pensions
- What are the main risks with this product?
- Is my investment or any growth on my investment secure?
- What is the minimum recommended term of the investment?
- If I cash in my investment early, will I have to pay a penalty?
- Will the investment affect my tax or social welfare benefits?
- How will I find out how my investment or pension is performing?
Get more information on investments and pensions.
- What am I covered for and for how long?
- Is this cover necessary for me?
- Could the premium increase for any reason?
- When could my claim be refused?
- How much can I borrow?
- What is the best type of mortgage for my needs?
- What is the APR (annual percentage rate)?
- What are the monthly payments over different terms, such as 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 years?
- If I get a discounted rate, what rate applies at the end of the discounted period and what effect will that have on my repayments and the total cost of the loan?
- What effect will a 1%, 2% or higher increase in interest rates have on my repayments?
- How often is the interest on my mortgage calculated (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly) and what effect will this have on my total repayments?
- Are there dlexible terms available?
- What are the penalties if I change from a fixed to a variable rate?
- Do I have to pay an indemnity bond?
- Do you charge a fee if I don’t take your mortgage offer?
- Do you need a regular income when you retire over the state pension?
- Do you need to provide for other dependents after you die?
- What rate of tax would you be paying on your income benefit?
- Do you have any serious medical condition which may reduced your life expectancy in retirement?
- Have you any other assets you can use in your retirement which may provide you with an income such as other property, savings/investments etc?
- Consider the advantages and disadvantages between an ARF and a regular secure income before you decide.