Once you’ve covered the basics, it’s time for you and your advisor to dig a little deeper and start looking at the details of your finances. It can be uncomfortable to give someone access to your financial documents and status, but it’s important to be candid so that your advisor has a full picture of your finances and can make the best plan possible. For your advisor to truly understand your financial state, he or she may need access to your tax returns, will, trust documents, account statements, pay stubs, insurance policies, investment statements, employee benefit records, etc. Beyond this objective information, your advisor will also want to get an idea of your biggest financial worries. Although you may come in to the appointment with a jumble of anxieties about your financial future, it is your advisor’s job to help you turn that anxiety into clearly defined and prioritized goals. It can be hard to ask yourself tough questions like, “What is more important to me at this stage in my life: my retirement or my child’s education?” Your advisor will likely ask you some of these tough questions and help you to work through the answers. Finally, an advisor will typically evaluate your risk tolerance, which helps determine how much variability you are willing to take on in your investment returns. To gauge your goals and risk tolerance, your advisor may have you fill out written surveys or questionnaires. However, you shouldn’t think of these documents as a test—there are no “right” or “wrong” answers, only information to help gain a more accurate picture of your financial personality.