When it comes to Financial Planning, I really like to relate it to medical treatments with your Doctor. How often do you visit your Doctor? Typically there are two types of people, the first, are reactive. They meet with their Doctor only when something is wrong, they are sick or injured. In this situation we are always fixing, making you better from something unexpected. The other type of client is proactive, these client will visit their Doctor when they are ill, yes, but even if they are not, they keep a schedule annually or semi-annually or maybe more, based on their current medical history.
You should consider this when deciding how often to meet with your financial advisor. I suggest you attempt to be proactive. There are changes in your life that you will not associate as having an impact on your finances, however a good financial planner, knows what kind of questions to ask to assess ongoing needs. So always visit when you are aware of changes, but make sure you are making regular visits regardless of the changes you are aware of. The frequency will depend on your unique financial situation. Discuss with your advisor your concerns and they should help you schedule the appropriate frequency. If you feel that your current advisor is unwilling to visit with you in the frequency you would like...it may be time for a change.
Toni - your financial advisor should have a service model that they implement with you. For example, I meet face to face with clients as a minimum once a year. Some clients I meet with quarterly. Others I meet with every six months and have conference calls in the quarters that we don't meet. It is important for you to define your expectations with your planner in regards to how you expect to be serviced. My clients also receive a weekly market update from me that I have found serves as a catalyst for them to send me an email about a question or thought that is one their mind. That's just my model, everyone is different. I would truly say, how often do you want to meet with you advisor and build your service plan around that. We are working for you.
Your meeting schedule is up to you, and good advisors should be available to you on an as-needed basis. In my experience, meeting frequency depends on how long I have worked with clients, and if they live in the same city as I do. New clients require more meetings and attention in the first years, whereas with longer tenure clients I have established a more trusting relationship. In addition to newsletters, personal letters, statements, emials, and phone calls, I try to meet with all clients at least twice a year.
This is really dependent on what sort of relationship you want to have with your financial adviser. If you want someone to do all the work for you, then probably an annual check in and azimuth report is sufficient. Just don't be like some of these sports stars who delegate authority and responsibility, as the responsibility for how your finances shape up is still yours.
I'm an hourly, fee only financial planner, which means that I don't sell products or manage money. I want to teach, so, in my opinion, once you're done with me (or someone like me), you should know what you need to know to manage your financial life until something major changes, such as getting a large inheritance or selling your business. Then, you can come back in, but if I haven't given you the life roadmap to figure out what you need to do and where you should be, then I've failed you. There's no reason for you to come in and have me confirm to you that you're on the right path; if that's the case, all I'm doing is taking your watch and telling you what time it is. Good service solves problems and educates you on what you need to know rather than creating a perpetual dependency to stoke the recurring revenues of the planner.