The FNA: your advisor’s diagnostic tool
Your advisor tells you that they must complete your FNA before making any recommendations. In case you weren’t sure, they are not referring to Flexible Network Architecture!
During your first meeting, your advisor or financial planner will ask you many questions to gain a thorough understanding of your situation and needs. This process may seem intrusive to you, but it is their professional obligation. This obligation is to your advantage, because the collection of your data will allow them to produce what is called your financial needs analysis, or FNA for short. Its purpose is to develop a financial strategy that aims to close the gap between your current situation and the one you are striving for.
In a nutshell, the FNA is a financial portrait - a snapshot of your financial situation, if you will - on which your advisor will base their recommendations. It’s a bit like having a personal fitness trainer who evaluates your physical condition before proposing a training program suited to your needs in order to help you reach your goals.
Here are the types of questions you can expect from your advisor:
- What are your plans and ambitions; can you quantify your goals and establish them within a time frame?
- What is your current personal (age, marital status, children, health, etc.) and financial situation (income, real estate, investments, etc.)?
- What are your wishes for retirement: at what age do you hope to retire; what lifestyle do you aspire to have; do you have RRSPs, etc.?
- What are the provisions in case of your death: do you have a will; life insurance; what is your estate plan, etc.?
- What are your insurance coverage plans: disability, critical illness, life, etc.?
If an insurance product being considered has an investment component, your financial advisor will also need to draw up your investor profile. He or she may then ask you the following types of questions:
- What is your investment knowledge: have you ever made any investments; are you aware of the tax differences between investments in a registered or non-registered account; are you aware of the different fees related to investments, etc.?
- What is your investment horizon: do you want to invest for the short, medium or long term; what withdrawals do you want to make and when, etc.?
- What is your risk tolerance: do you understand the risks associated with the proposed strategy; what percentage of loss you would be comfortable with, etc.?
With your answers, your advisor will have the necessary information to build you a customized plan. Rest assured, the information collected is strictly confidential and recorded in writing. Your advisor will then follow up with you on a regular basis to update your profile and make sure that the strategy implemented still corresponds to your needs over the years.