FAQ

Why do I need a financial planner?
How can a financial planner help me?
How much money do I need before a financial planner will see me?
Who else can provide advice?
What should I ask a financial planner?

Why do I need a financial planner?

Our financial planners can help you with many things, such as:

  • Retirement planning
  • Direct Shares – buying and selling
  • Superannuation
  • Estate planning
  • Insurance – life, trauma, income protection and disability cover
  • Investing
  • Wealth accumulation
  • Debt management
  • Social Security

How can a financial planner help me?

A Financial planner is your financial ‘coach’. They will assist you in all matters financial, whether they are general or specific.

There are many benefits to having professional financial advice. A financial planner:

  • provides direction and meaning to your financial decisions.
  • helps you to understand how each decision you make affects other areas of your finances. For example, buying a particular investment product might help pay off your mortgage faster or it might delay your retirement significantly.
  • can help you make the most of your money, responding to different stages in your life and changing environmental conditions to make sure you meet your goals.

Plus, to get the most out of your money there is a lot to consider and understand. A financial planner has the skills and training to guide you in the right direction.

How much money do I need before a financial planner will see me?

If you have any financial investments, or are thinking about making an investment, you should see a financial planner. Most investment can start from as little as $1 000, or $150 per month.

Other issues that affect us all are paying off a mortgage and superannuation. A financial planner can help you mange this, as well as ensuring you get the best possible return.

Who else can provide advice?

Most people are willing to give an opinion, however to provide ‘financial service’ advice, a person needs to obtain an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) or become an authorised representative of an AFSL holder. Thus an accountant or solicitor must have a Licence or be authorized before providing advice.

‘Financial Services’ are defined very broadly and include providing financial product advice and dealing, or arranging to deal, in financial products. So unless they are covered by an AFSL, an accountant or solicitor cannot offer investment advice or recommend specific financial products.

What should I ask a financial planner?

The Financial Planning Association of Australia recommends that you ask these questions:

Could I have a copy of your Financial Services Guide (FSG)?

All financial planners must have an FSG. It is a simple document that gives you details on a planner. You should check whether the planner holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) or is an authorised representative of an AFSL holder. If they don’t meet this criteria, then look for another planner who does.

What is your approach to financial planning?

Ask the planner about the types of clients and financial situations they typically work with. This will help you establish whether the planner specialises in areas that relate to your situation.

How much do you typically charge?

The planner should be able to give you an estimate of possible costs. This could include the cost of the planner’s services (their time and expertise) and the percentage they would receive as commission on products you may purchase.

What do I need to know about risk?

Any investment involves ‘risk’, that is, the chance that you will not achieve your financial goals. Generally, the higher the expected return, the higher the risk.

Can I have a written statement of advice (SoA)?

Your planner should provide you with a written financial plan or ‘statement of advice’ (SoA) whenever giving personal financial advice. This written plan should set out the basis for the advice and the reasons for the particular recommendations.

Will my financial plan change as my circumstances and needs change?

Your goals will change over time, and so your financial plan should be reviewed and changed too.

Other things to consider:

  • Ask friends and family for a recommendation to a financial planner.
  • Do some research to work out what you might need help with. For example, review your personal finances, and familarise yourself with common investment terms.
  • Ask the planner for an initial meeting to see if they are the right ‘fit’ with you.

This information has been prepared with the assistance of the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA).