To reach your financial goals, it pays if you have some guidance. This guidance can be given by financial planning services through financial planners or financial advisors. You must understand that a financial planner can help people with any financial issue from buying a house to budgeting, investing and superannuation.
To help you get started, here are things you need to know about financial planning:
There are three types of financial planners
If you decide that you need a financial planner, it is crucial that understand the three types.
- Company-owned: you must know that about 45% of financial planners operate under a license, which is mandated by 10 largest financial institutions.
- Independently licensed: there are other small to medium businesses that have ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission) licenses.
- Truly independent: there are a few truly independent financial advisers who are members of IFAAA (Independent Financial Advisers Association of Australia).
Do your research before showing up
You can’t just show up to an appointment without any knowledge. This is like walking blindly and this can be quite terrifying. At the onset, it is practical to choose a service provider from referrals or recommendations. The next thing that you need to do is check if they are registered with ASIC. At the very least, the financial planning services should have a current license.
There are different fee models
Keep in mind that there are different fee models – some may require you to pay a percentage of assets under their management or some might charge an upfront fee. According to the FPA (Financial Planning Association of Australia), the average upfront cost is about $2,500 or $3,500 per annum.
There is a complimentary introductory meeting
The right financial planner offers a complimentary introductory meeting. During the meeting, you should ask plenty of questions. You can consider the following questions:
- What qualifications do you have? At the very least, the financial planner should be a member of FPA and is a Certified Financial Planner.
- What experiences do you have? You should basically ask how long the financial planner has been in practice.
- What do you specialise in? There are some financial planners that have limited areas of expertise. It is important that you look for planners with specific expertise to get the best result. Ultimately, you need to make sure that the planner has the right skills and experience that match your needs.
- How do you charge? Financial planners are required by law to disclose all forms of payment and fees. Everything will start with an initial fee to identify your needs as well as develop strategies. There could also be ongoing service fees or administration fees.
An accountant is not a financial planner
You should understand that an accountant is not a financial planner. This means that your accountant cannot give financial advice – unless they are licensed as a financial planner with ASIC.
You should think of financial planning services as something that enables you to live the life that you want to live. When you decide to avail of their services, you should make sure that you feel comfortable with the planner’s professional experience or credentials.