8 things you should be sharing with your financial advisor

For many of us, personal finances are a largely taboo topic. In fact, according to research, over 60% of Americans say they simply don’t discuss money — even with family members (63%), friends (75%) and their own spouses/partners (46%).

Just how reluctant are we to broach the topic of our financial situation in conversation? According to the same research, more of us would rather talk about politics (43%) and death (32%) than our own finances (24%).

A professional consultant on money matters with a need to know
While this aversion to “money talk” may not have substantial impacts in most areas of our lives, when it carries over into conversations with a financial planning advisor, it can put serious limitations on the ability of this professional to perform his or her job well. A financial advisor is trusted to help us achieve a range of personal financial goals — from building savings and planning for retirement to properly handling an inheritance, ensuring adequate insurance coverage, building a balanced investment portfolio, managing financial risks and much more. But this professional simply can’t be expected to deliver effective financial guidance when he or she is kept in the dark on certain money-related matters.

8 things you should be telling your financial advisor
So just what does a financial advisor need to know? These money-management professionals can better help you achieve your financial goals when they’re well-informed about your finances, your job, your family, your passions, your goals … and more. So the more open and honest you are with them, the better — even (and often especially) when it comes to sometimes-uncomfortable personal topics.

To help ensure that your financial advisor has all the information he or she needs to give you effective advice and guidance about your personal finances, don’t keep the following eight things — all of which can have big impacts on your financial situation — from your financial advisor:


  1. The financial facts … in full — When you begin working with a financial advisor, he or she will likely ask that you provide a broad range of information and documents related to your personal finances. The details requested may be more comprehensive than you might expect, and they could include everything from tax returns and account statements to income details, asset information and debt details. Be ready to share all the information requested — and don’t be surprised if, for example, you’re asked to provide much more than your 401(k) statement, even if you’re only seeking retirement advice. From the advisor’s perspective, the more complete the financial picture he or she can get from you, the better equipped he or she is to help you create a plan that’s adequately diversified and set up for success.


  1. Your money-related goals, personal values and passions — The financial goals you’ll likely be asked to share will dig deeper than “I’d like to build more savings” or “I’d like to ensure a comfortable retirement.” Most advisors will want to get the details behind those goals and what drives them. Be ready to be asked about things like what people and things are most important to you, how you’d like to spend your life after retirement, and what financial issues/concerns have you most worried. Further, by learning what your driving values and passions are, a financial advisor can get to know you better as a person, which can add color and shape to the financial picture he or she is able to assess, as well as to the financial guidance he or she provides to you.


  1. Your family — Your family structure and dynamics — and especially any potential or existing family-related issues — can play an outsized role in your financial fortunes and decision-making. Some of the family-related matters it may be a good idea to share with your financial advisor, even if they’re difficult to discuss, include:
    – if your marital status has recently changed or may soon be changing
    – if you have children from multiple relationships, where these relationships stand now, and how you anticipate they may look in the future
    – it you have any family members with physical or mental health challenges (a substance-abuse disorder or other diagnosis, for example) that currently requires or may in the future require substantial care costs
    – if you have any estranged siblings or other estranged members of your immediate family


  1. Your health — Your current health status and any health problems you may be subject to in the future — as well as the current and future health outlooks of your immediate family members — can also have big impacts on your financial well-being, both now and into the future. Some of the health-related topics you may want to discuss with your financial advisor include:
    – if there is a history of chronic illnesses in your family
    – if your parents are still alive, what kind of health they’re in and if you may need to provide care for them at some point
    – what your plans are for covering your future healthcare needs
    – who you expect will provide care for you if you need extra assistance as you age
    – what your preferences for long-term care may be should you need it in the future, as well as where you plan to live as you grow older


  1. Your career — Your career path, opportunities for income growth and any potential threats to your primary source of income can all have big effects on how your finances should be managed and any big financial moves you may choose to make. Be sure to keep your financial advisor updated on any potential changes at work (especially if you plan to make any career changes), how you feel about your chances for promotion at your job, if your employer-provided benefits may be changing, what you would do if you lost your job, etc.


  1. Your money-related experiences — A person’s attitudes about money, saving and spending often get established early in life — so don’t be surprised if your financial advisor inquires about some of your earliest memories and experiences related to money. Further, by knowing about your past experiences with money and investments, a financial advisor can help you overcome any money-related biases you may have and educate you about any financial misconceptions you may have. For example, a client may have lost money on a past real estate investment or had bad experiences with the stock market that could drive an aversion to making similar financial moves again. And by knowing about these experiences, the advisor can better understand your perspective … and get a better idea about some areas that you may need to be better informed about.


  1. … and your money-related mistakes — Most all of us have made financial missteps, such as spending years on a job before taking advantage of our employer’s 401(k) plan or failing to adequately deal with our credit card debt. Don’t be embarrassed to share details about your past financial mistakes with your financial advisor. First of all, he or she has likely seen such financial blunders before — and knowing about them can help your advisor steer you clear of making them again. Further, the advisor needs to know about any issues like substantial debt to help you address them and help create the best financial outcomes for you moving forward.


  1. Your financial decisions, both big and small — Most financial advisors are willing to offer you guidance on any money-related decisions you may be facing, no matter how large or how small they may be. So if you’ve got financial questions, don’t be afraid to ask them. Whether you’re looking for advice and insights related to a vehicle purchase vs. a lease, potential health-related expenses, whether you should loan money to a close relative, or anything else in which money considerations play a role, in most cases, your financial advisor will be happy to help.


Would the guidance of a professional financial advisor help you achieve your personal financial goals? At Arthur State Bank, our trust and wealth professionals are highly trained in a broad range of financial matters, and they’re eager to assist in the careful planning process typically needed to make clients’ long-term financial goals become a reality. To connect with an Arthur State Bank financial advisor who can help put you on the path to achieving your financial goals, contact us today.

Proudly serving South Carolina since 1933, Arthur State Bank offers accounts and services to meet a variety of financial needs. To help you achieve all your financial goals, the bank offers in-person service as well as a range of convenient digital solutions. To learn how Arthur State Bank can help you with banking needs ranging from checking and savings to retirement accounts, mortgages, other personal loans and more, visit arthurstatebank.com.

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Man doing his banking online

AnnualCreditReport.com is the only source for free credit reports authorized by the federal government. Every 12 months, you can get a free copy of your credit report from each agency.

Your credit report has your credit history for all of your credit accounts as well as any credit inquiries and public record court information such as collections. In addition, the report provides personally identifiable information such as your name, address, and employment.

Be sure to carefully review all three reports to identify any problem areas that you may need to clean up prior to applying for a mortgage. If there is any incorrect information, follow the reporting agency’s rules to correct it or add a notation to the report to explain the situation.

Your FICO Score is a score combines data from several areas include payment history, the amount owed, length of credit history, new accounts. Many lenders use this score as a guide. This score is not provided as part of the free annual credit report.

Learn more about how your credit score impacts your ability to secure a loan.


Couple looking over finances

Primary considerations for setting your housing budget require an assessment of your income, debt and current savings for the down payment on the home. The following are generally recommended guidelines; however, you should meet with an Arthur State Bank lender to get personalized mortgage information.


Couple meeting with lender

The pre-qualification/pre-approval letter is included with any offer you make on a house to inform the seller that you have met with a mortgage lender and you are prepared to make an offer. The letter states that based on certain assumptions, the bank is prepared to lend you up to a specified amount of money for a home mortgage.

When choosing a loan officer, we recommend going local to work with someone who understands your community’s real estate market. This blog on first-time home purchases includes questions to ask your lender that may be helpful when preparing for your meeting.

Helpful Resources:


Realtor shaking hands with a client

When a house is sold, the seller typically pays real estate commission to both the listing agent and the selling agent. It is extremely beneficial for the buyer to use their own real estate agent. Loan officers can often recommend selling agents in the area; ask your officer about realtor referrals when discussing your loan.

A good realtor will know the local market and can help you find an ideal home based on your budget, location and desired features. During your search, understand that you will most likely need to compromise on some items, so it’s important to identify your critical needs versus your wants.


Couple searching online for a home

Additionally, when you start with the house search and work backwards, homes can often go off the market while you’re completing steps 1-4. While browsing homes immediately can be tempting, we recommend following these steps in order so that, once you find your dream home, you’ll be well-positioned to take action immediately.

When you find the home you want and you think you are ready to put an offer on it, you will want to make sure you have all the information you need to make a solid offer.

  • Evaluate the neighborhood.
  • Drive by the house at different times of the day.
  • Examine how other houses in the neighborhood are maintained.
  • Consider any potential traffic or other disruptive noise.
  • Is there ample parking for you and visitors?
  • Read the details in any Homeowner Association agreements (HOA fees and rules).

Make sure to do a preliminary check of house details:

  • Check the water:
  • Does it have good pressure?
  • How long does it take to get the water hot?
  • Is it well water or city water?
  • Turn light switches on and off.
  • Open and close doors and windows to make sure they work properly.
  • Review previous utility bill expenses.
  • Consider the property tax bill.


Family meeting with realtor at new house

When writing an offer contract, be sure to pay attention to all of the details.

Offer Price:

Your agent should do a market analysis that pulls data on recently sold comparable houses. The best comparisons will come from the same neighborhood.

If you are asking for the seller to pay some of the closing costs, remember that this cost plus the sales commission determines the net amount you are offering the seller for the house.

Work with your agent on your negotiation strategy. There are many things to consider, such as how badly you want this particular house, whether it is a buyer’s or seller’s market and an assessment of the seller’s motivation to get the property sold.

There isn’t one best strategy.

Be sure to document in writing everything you want included with the house, such as appliances, etc. Your agent should guide you through the contract step-by-step.


  • Home inspection.
  • Mortgage.
  • Final walk through (24 hours prior to closing).

Proposed closing date. Typically, this is 30-45 days from an accepted offer.

A good-faith deposit is required for the offer. This is typically between 1-10% of the purchase price of the house. The deposit is kept in escrow until closing and the money is applied to the purchase price of the house at closing. If the house does not close due to one of the contingency clauses, the buyer receives their money back. However, if the buyer decides not to close on the property, the seller may get the deposit money.

Attach your pre-approval letter to the offer.


Two people in professional meeting

The clock starts ticking for everything documented in the contract, including mortgage application, inspections and closing date.


Woman advising other woman on mortgage application

You will need to decide which mortgage to select prior to the application.

Plan for the following potential fees:

  • Application fee (many banks and mortgage companies charge an application fee; however, there is not an application fee at Arthur State Bank).
  • Credit check.
  • Appraisal (may be paid at closing).
  • Loan origination fee (paid at closing).

Once you have approval for your loan, make sure you don’t change anything that will impact the status of your mortgage. Banks do a final check on credit and jobs just prior to closing, so now is not the time to change jobs or make another purchase on credit such as a car or furniture.


Home inspector going over findings with home owner

Depending on the size of the house, an inspection can cost on average between $300 to $1000.

Many real estate contracts specify how problems uncovered in the inspection will be resolved, up to a certain dollar amount. Should necessary repairs exceed that amount, the buyer has the option to cancel the contract without penalty and receive their deposit money back. Another option is for the buyer and seller to renegotiate who will pay for additional repairs.


Woman happily holding keys to her new home
  • Homeowner’s insurance is required by the lender prior to closing on the loan.
  • Turn on utilities in your name, effective the closing date.
  • Change your address with the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Make moving arrangements.

Three days prior to closing:

  • You should receive your final Closing Disclosure from the closing agency. The final Closing Disclosure shows a column for the seller and a column for the buyer. All closing charges and credits for both the seller and the buyer are documented in the closing statement.
  • Review the closing statement for accuracy prior to coming to closing.
  • The final amount in the buyer’s column shows you the amount of money you need to pay at closing.

The closing office will provide specific payment instructions. Closing funds have become recent targets for cybercriminals. If you are asked to use a wire transfer, call the office and ask to speak to someone you have been working with to double-check the instructions.

Closing day:

In South Carolina, the closing will usually take place at the attorney’s office. Everyone signing for the mortgage must be present to sign the closing paperwork. Make sure you bring the following:

  • Cashier’s check or proof of payment for wire transfer.
  • Driver’s license.
  • Checkbook, just in case there are any additional items that were not on the closing statement.

Be sure to understand this information:

  • How and when you will pay:
  • Your mortgage.
  • Your property taxes.
  • Your homeowner’s insurance.
  • Any HOA dues.
  • Who to call with any questions.

The best practice is to go through the homebuyer’s roadmap in this sequence. However, if you jumped ahead early in your journey, just circle back to address the steps you missed.

Arthur State Bank’s loan officers are closely tapped into local real estate markets and experts at helping clients get what they need on terms that work for them. We also offer mortgage specials for first-time homebuyers.

To start planning your journey to your dream home, try out our mortgage calculator. If you’re ready to talk to a loan officer, contact Arthur State Bank to request personalized mortgage information today. Don’t forget to ask about our first-time homebuyer offer.