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You need to know this before you engage a Financial Adviser

You need to know this before you engage a Financial Adviser

You should know this!!!

Why don’t more people use a financial planner?

I know I touched on this in an earlier blog. And as I have previously stated there are lots and lots of reasons why.

And for 43% of Australians, well, they just don’t give a continental – about their Superannuation (Super Stuff that) at least, but I’m guessing that a majority of those 43% really don’t pay much attention to most aspects of their personal financial situation anyway.

I don’t know about you, but I personally just don’t feel comfortable living on a week to week basis, paying for my daily essentials on credit, not having money to spare at the end of the week for entertainment. I’ve been there done that (quite a few years ago).

So I have some empathy to those who do live in this reality, and they are doing this in a world where at the moment, the cost of living, the cost of essentials such as food, power, fuel are increasing (rapidly!!).

Solution please…

A start would be to engage a financial planner to give you a bit of guidance. Money Management & Budgeting is just one of the areas that they can assist you with.

A sound and well planned budget and cashflow management system is the foundation to which a secure or even flourishing financial future is built.

This is why advice is so important. I once heard a statistic that only 3% of Australians can successfully save. I’m not really sure how accurate this statistic is, or how or who for that matter defines successfully saving, however it is a statistic I don’t have any trouble in believing.

So if you’re one of those Australians who just can’t seem to get there cash flow management right and you want some guidance on how best do this, seeking advice from a qualified financial adviser is a good first step for you.

What are some of the things you need to both consider and understand about seeking financial planning advice? I have prepared a list of things I believe you need to be aware of which may or may not help your decision to engage a particular financial adviser to help you with you financial matters.

Here goes;

Tip 1. Always seek advice from a financial planner who is qualified and represents a reputable Australian Financial Services Licensee. Request the advisers Financial Services Guide which will explain all this to you. If you are not sure, email us at

Tip 2. When you engage a financial planner ensure he/she is one that clearly explains their fee, and demonstrates what you will get for that fee both upfront and ongoing.

You must understand the costs associated with investing. There are costs involved.

I think sometimes we can get too hung up on fees. After all fees pay for the service you are receiving, and the product to which you are investing in.

I am sure that you do not work for free! So don’t get too hung up on costs, just make sure you ask, understand, the costs before you commit J

Be aware that excessive costs can wreak havoc. So if you’re unsure, email us at

I always say though that cost is really only ever an issue in the absence of value!! So if you feel there is no value then don’t engage (remember the first appointment should be complimentary)

Tip 3. Financial documents are to Financial Planners as teeth are to dentists. If a Planner is prepared to give you advice without having completing a thorough analysis of your situation and has reviewed all your existing documentation, then he/she is an idiot and you should walk away (I don’t think there is to many like this, but if you find one then you know what to do).

An adviser should clearly inform you what is required for you to bring prior to an appointment. So expect that you will be required to do some preparation before your initial appointment.

Tip 4. Be prepared to answer lots of questions during the financial needs analysis. Your discussions with the adviser will be confidential, privacy rules will apply, but if you choose not to reveal all that is asked of you then you could be recommended a strategy that actually might be to your long term detriment rather than benefit. So be prepared that it is in your best interests to open up – the more you let the advisor know, the more he/she will be able to help you.

Tip 5. Ask your adviser to explain the different investment types and the risks associated with them. What drives markets? How financial markets work in broad terms? Ask he/she to explain the difference between growth and defensive investment asset classes.

Understanding the risks associated with different investment types will help you understand what level of risk is needed for your strategy, and help determine the type of investor you are (risk profile). Understand the benefits of diversification. Why you should not have all your eggs in one basket.

Tip 6. I believe that a good financial plan should consider all of your entire financial requirements. Not just limited to investing, or superannuation, but including debt, estate planning, insurances, cash flow and budgeting as well. A holistic approach to financial advice is critical to your long term benefit in my mind. Ensure the adviser you choose to engage with is holistic in their service offering, or at least works with other professionals to cover off the areas which they don’t operate to achieve the best outcomes for you.

Tip 7. Ask the adviser to explain their ongoing commitment to you. What is their review process?
Just like you wouldn’t buy a new car and run it for years and never get a service; you wouldn’t not ever review your financial strategy and underlying investments on an ongoing basis.

Set and forget strategies don’t work

Things change, so it is important that you maintain ongoing contact with an adviser to ensure that changes are reflected accurately in your strategy and underlying portfolio if applicable.

Consider what we have explained above, engage with a Financial Adviser, and see if they can add some value and improvement to your present situation.

Now if you have any questions about anything we have written here, please feel free to drop us an email. I would be more than happy to help you find the right adviser to suit your needs.

Grant Howe

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