Pre-WW1 Russian banknotes and other intrigues

Being handed a box of money hidden from the Bolsheviks is just one of the curiosities advisers can come across.  But, says Danny Cox, it’s all part of advising process.  Here’s what you do (and don’t) need to take to your first meeting with an adviser.

Shoebox full of money

I’d never seen Russian money before.  The shoebox handed to me was crammed full of pre-Russian revolution currency: crisp, unused and hidden from the Bolsheviks, seemingly destined to remain in lofts for eternity.  I am quite used to being presented with vast amounts of paperwork when first meeting a client, diligently collected and transported in an assortment of briefcases, carrier bags, box files and document wallets.  But this was quite unique.

What should you take with you to your first meeting with a financial adviser? In my view, very little. Other than yourself, of course. I’ll explain…

Probably the most important aspect of a financial adviser’s role is to understand you, your aspirations, needs and objectives.  It is only once these are known can the adviser make recommendations as to how to best achieve them.  Money acts as a facilitator.

For many people their objectives may not be clear or they may need considerable flexibility.  The best financial advisers are skilled at helping you formulate your thoughts, understand what is realistic, prioritise what is most important to you and make a plan.  This requires conversation, not form filling.

“What should you take with you to your first meeting with a financial adviser? In my view, very little. Other than yourself, of course”

To help your adviser prepare, in advance of your meeting you should let them have basic details of how your finances are laid out at the moment.  Advisory firms have short questionnaires which you can complete either in paper format or online.  These cover hard facts such as dates of birth, earnings, values of investments, cash at the bank, income requirements etc.  You may also want to send in your most recent investment and pension statements.

Armed with this, your financial adviser can focus your meeting on understanding the issues you are concerned with, your plans and objectives, and how your finances may need to be tweaked to achieve them.

Certainly once through an advisory process, your financial affairs should be simpler and in most cases the amount of paperwork reduced.  After we’d examined the unusual banknotes, the client’s next question to me was whether he should buy a new filing cabinet to cope with the mountain of paper he had amassed over the years.  By the time I had finished simplifying his affairs using a platform service, he could sell the one he had.  And recycle the shoebox.

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