Do you need a financial planner?
If you only have a short investment period the answer to this question is probably no. This is because financial planners tend to take a holistic approach to your finances, planning for investments across the short, medium and long term.
However, saving for the future, investing an inheritance, being made redundant, approaching retirement, embarking on a wealth accumulation strategy, mortgage elimination, superannuation or looking for life insurance are just some of the circumstances when a financial planner can be of service. Talking to an experienced and licensed financial planner will assist you by:
- Providing advice on how to invest your money to your best advantage to meet your requirements;
- Providing resources and education to help you make an informed decision about your money;
- Providing a logical step by step documented plan to meet your needs;
- Selecting the products that suit your needs and investment objectives; and
- Reviewing your financial plan on a regular basis to ensure ongoing suitability.
Entrusting your financial position and future wealth into the hands of a stranger may be a daunting task for some. Choosing a suitable person with the knowledge and expertise requires care and resolve. The following provides the steps we recommend to find a suitable adviser to establish an ongoing financial planning relationship.
Financial Planning Preparation
It is vital that you have the right attitude to financial planning. The role of a financial planner is not to make the decisions but to provide quality advice and support to ensure you are able to make an informed decision.
The first step in preparation is to write down what you want your adviser to do. This includes what you want to achieve financially and when you want to achieve it. This requires you to examine your short, medium and long term goals, your current assets and liabilities, your income and expenditure, as well as what level of risk you are comfortable with.
The best way to start looking for a financial planner is to ask around – your friends, family, colleagues, accountant, solicitor or your employer. If an adviser is recommended, ask questions to determine the advisers experience, areas of expertise, level of ongoing service and the level of satisfaction of the person who has referred you.
It is recommended that you contact a financial planner to discuss your requirements prior to making an appointment. Provided they can meet your needs, establish an introductory meeting to discuss in detail your situation and requirements.
It is also prudent to obtain a copy of their Financial Services Guide (FSG) before proceeding with the meeting. This document outlines the services provided by the dealer group to which the adviser belongs. The guide should be used to check that the adviser either holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) or is an Authorised Representative of an Australian Financial Services Licensee. It is imperative that you deal only with licence holders or their Authorised Representatives. You may wish to check this information through the ASIC website at www.asic.gov.au or by telephoning 1300 300 630.
The other information provided within the Financial Services Guide is how the adviser is paid and whether the adviser works for, or is connected with, an investment company or bank. These details may affect the extent of products available, the quality of advice you receive or the payments required to secure the adviser’s services.
The other industry organisation you may like to contact is the Financial Planning Association(FPA). This is the professional organisation for the industry, and you can contact them for your nearest member. Visit their website at http://www.fpa.asn.au or phone them on 1800 626 393.
To contact Adviser fp to arrange an appointment with a Certified Financial Planner (click here).