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Today, more than ever, financial advisors are working with their clients to better understand the inherent risks in their portfolios.
Year-end face-to-face client meetings are key because they allow advisors the opportunity to set realistic expectations about that risk.
I caught up with several advisors at the recent Schwab Impact conference in Denver to discuss what is top-of-mind with their clients. The advisors explained that a real financial-risk discussion is what their clients want. It's the time to take the client's pulse to check on his or her tolerance. These also are the conversations that build trust, advisors say.
The advisors I spoke with also said they use these face-to-face meetings to help clients conquer some of their fears.
Read MoreAdvisors quell clients' 2015 fears
To that point, they ask clients which competing risks they are willing to accept: Are they willing to accept the risk of not retiring on time? If not, are they willing to take on more portfolio risk?
It's all about getting a better sense of the risks a client is actually willing to take.
Advisors' clients are also urging them to have conversations about tax issues, market volatility, inflation and low interest rates. The focus is on how all this will impact their long-term investments strategies as they head into 2015.