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Cash Flow Problems – Questions to Expect when Meeting with a Financial Planner or Counsellor

Questions for Discussion

When assisting you with dealing with cash flow problems, I use these and similar questions to gather an understanding of your situation, and to identify areas where changes can be made.  If you are going to meet with a planner or counsellor, be prepared to answer these questions.  Just by reviewing the questions, you may get some ideas on how to spend less money.  I refer you also to my article titled, “Managing Your Cash Flow – Finding More Cash” to help find ways to save.

  1. Are you working full-time or part-time? If you have a spouse, do they work full-time or part-time?
  2. What are your annual gross wages for each of you, on average, before deductions?
  3. How many and how old are your children? Are you still supporting them?
  4. Do you own or rent your own home?
    1. If owned,
      1. How old is it and how much is it worth?
      2. How many bedrooms does it have?
      3. How much insurance coverage do you have, and what is the deductible?
    2. If rented,
      1. How much is your rent?
      2. How many bedrooms does it have?
      3. How much tenant insurance coverage do you have, and what is the deductible?
  5. Do you live alone? Have you considered sharing your space?
  6. Do you have a mortgage and what is your mortgage payment (indicate if property taxes are included)?
    1. What is your mortgage interest rate?
    2. What is the current balance owing and the amount and frequency of payments?
    3. How long before the mortgage is fully paid?
    4. Is the mortgage insured?  If so, by whom and at what cost?
  7. What credit cards do you have? What are your credit card limits? How much do you pay on your credit cards each month? What is the credit card interest rate?
  8. Do you have a debit card? What does it cost each time you use it?
  9. Do you own your car? Do you have a car loan payment and what is your payment and interest rate?
  10. Do you lease your car? What is your lease payment? When does it expire?
  11. What type of car you drive? How many cars does your family have?
  12. Do you have any other personal loans or lines of credit and what are the interest rates and the credit limits?
  13. Do you have cable TV? What is your monthly cost and do you have access to all TV stations?
  14. Do you have high-speed Internet at home? How many home computers do you have?
  15. Do you have a cell phone? How many are there in your immediate family? Describe the type of plan that you have and its monthly cost.
  16. Do you have a landline telephone?  What type of plan do you have and how much does it cost?
  17. How much do you spend on restaurants and fast food, including take-out and lunches, each week?
  18. Do you smoke, and what would your weekly costs be for cigarettes?
  19. How much would you spend on alcohol each week?
  20. Are you saving for your children’s future education and do you provided them with allowances?
  21. Do you have any ongoing medical issues that require out-of-pocket costs?
  22. How much do you spend on gifts to family and friends each year?
  23. Do you have health insurance?  What does it cover and how much does it cost?
  24. Do you have life insurance – what type and what cost?
  25. What other insurance coverage do you have and what are the costs?
  26. Are you paying child or spousal support to a former partner?  If so, how much and when was it last reviewed?
  27. Do you see any expenses that you can eliminate?

Blair Corkum, CPA, CA, R.F.P., CFP, CFDS, CLU, CHS holds his Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant, Registered Financial Planner, Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist as well as several other financial planning related designations. Blair offers hourly based fee-only personal financial planning, holds no investment or insurance licenses, and receives no commissions or referral fees. This publication should not be construed as legal or investment advice. It is neither a definitive analysis of the law nor a substitute for professional advice which you should obtain before acting on information in this article. Information may change as a result of legislation or regulations issued after this article was written.©Blair Corkum