What is financial planning advice?
Financial planning advice helps you plan and manage your money to work towards making your dreams and goals become a reality.
Whatever your situation, there are 7 key building blocks (sometimes called ‘strategies’) that we can use, in combination, to help make the most of your money.
What does a financial planner do?
A financial planner is like having a personal coach for your money. Our aim is to help you protect and get more out of the money you have, so you can have more of the things you want – today and in the future.
After finding out who you are, your current circumstances and where you want to be, we will help you make informed decisions about how to make the most of your money, investing and protecting it to your advantage, using financial products that suit your needs.
How can a financial planner help you?
We are trained and competent to advise on a range of matters, including:
- Financial management from basic budgeting to complex portfolios.
- Investment strategies, including recommending investment categories and specific products.
- Superannuation strategies to help you accumulate enough money to retire with the lifestyle you’d like and strategies to help you minimise the tax you pay right now.
- Retirement planning for people who are retiring soon or many years from now – the sooner you plan the better.
- How to use a redundancy payout most effectively, including how to make it last as long as possible.
- Insurance to make sure you adequately protect what you’ve achieved so far, whether that’s a property, assets or your income.
What is in a financial plan?
Whether you go to a professional financial planner or do it yourself, you’re going to need a plan. In its brochure, “Don’t kiss your money goodbye”, the Australian Investments and Securities Commission (ASIC) says that a good financial plan should:
- summarise your financial position
- list your goals
- explain how you will reach those goals
- show how carefully chosen investments mesh together as working parts of your overall strategy
- disclose and explain any risks and how they can be overcome
- state all the costs
- reveal the commissions your adviser might receive from the recommended investments.
Visit FIDO, the consumer website of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), for more information about financial advice and planning.
What to expect when you see a financial planner – the 7 step process
The law requires that any personal advice you receive from us must be appropriate to your circumstances. While you have the right not to tell us personal information, if you don’t, the advice you receive may not be appropriate to your needs and your financial situation. When we meet we will take you through a 7-step process:
|Step 1||An initial consultation that allows us to find out about each other.|
|Step 2||We will collect all the information we need from you (sometimes called ‘fact finding’).|
|Step 3||We will help you identify your goals and current financial position. We normally do this at the same time as the ‘fact find’.|
|Step 4||We will consider the 7 building blocks or strategies (eg, tax, social security, estate planning etc), then develop and present you with written recommendations in a financial plan (called a Statement of Advice).|
|Step 5||We will discuss the recommendations with you and make sure you are comfortable and agree with them.|
|Step 6||We will implement the agreed recommendations.|
|Step 7||We will periodically help you review your objectives, financial situation and needs.|
It is important to remember that you are in control and can decide whether to stop, change or continue at any stage of the process.
What information will you need when you meet with us?
At our first meeting, we will ask you about you – about where you are now, about yourexpectations, about how you would like to live your life.
Then we will conduct something called ‘fact finding’ – we will ask you about your personal circumstances and help you to determine your attitude towards risk. Your attitude to risk means whether you are conservative in the way you invest, aggressive or somewhere in between.
We will ask you for detailed personal information; we need it to put together your financial plan. We will ask things like your:
- current personal income
- family income
- future income (inheritances included)
- day-to-day expenses
- your family circumstances (number and health of dependants, dependants from previous relationships etc)
- future expenses
- assets and liabilities
- tax paid and tax owed
- super and insurance situation
- current investments
- state of health.
You will also need to have considered your goals and current financial position. We will ask you things like:
- when you want to retire
- how you want to educate your children
- whether a second home, like a holiday house, is important to you
- do you have dependents you need to provide for if you are unable to work or if the unforeseen happens
- whether you have an up-to-date Will
- whether you are expecting any large expenses.
What will you receive?
During the financial planning process we will give you:
- A Financial Services Guide, which outlines who we are, what we can advise on and how we are paid.
- A written Statement of Advice that outlines the relevant information that you have provided, the advice you have been given and why it is suitable for you (along with how we get paid and any other benefits we may receive).
- A Product Disclosure Statement – if we recommend a financial product. The Product Disclosure Statement gives you information about the product features, fees that apply, any adviser commission, benefits and risks of investing and what to do if you have a complaint.
Remember, it’s important to keep these documents in case you need them in the future.