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Do I Need A Financial Planner?

Making the right financial decisions can be daunting. It’s no mean feat understanding the complexities of investment, taxation, superannuation and so on. Most of us long for a sense of security about our current and future economic position. Who can I turn to for monetary advice? A professional financial planner can help you simplify your finances and reach your goals. They’re able to assist you with areas such as: budgeting; debt reduction; loan repayment; saving; investment; tax, insurance; superannuation; and retirement. Identifying short-,mid- and long-term goals will serve as the foundation.  From there, your planner will tailor a financial blueprint for your situation, making clear recommendations for suitable strategies, products and services, as well as outlining the potential risks. Of course, your circumstances, lifestyle and financial goals are likely to change over time. Therefore, it’s important that your financial plan is regularly reviewed to make sure you stay on track. Where do I find a financial planner?  It’s best to go with an adviser who is a member of a recognised industry association or professional body, such as the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) or the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA). This will ensure that they:
  • Are qualified and licensed to give financial advice.
  • Abide by a Code of Conduct governingtheir professional practice and behaviour.
  • Havecommitted to undertake professional development and training ongoing.
  • Have amechanism for handling complaints.
Before choosing one, check ASIC's financial advisers register ( to make sure they have the right experience and qualifications to give you the level of service you need. Once you’ve shortlisted possible advisers, get a copy of their Financial Services Guide (FSG). This will outline their:
  • Qualifications,expertise and ethical
  • Services and products.
  • Product providers, such asbanks, fund managers and life insurance
  • Feesand payment
What will it cost?  By law financial planners must disclose all forms of payment and fees, so ask for an estimate of the cost of the advice. The charge to you will depend on the complexity of your financial situation and plan. Typically, it starts with an initial fee to identify your needs, develop a strategy and implement recommendations. There could also be administration and ongoing service fees for regular reviews of your plan. How do I get the maximum benefits from professional advice?  You want the most accurate and tailored plan for your circumstances. Therefore, begin by being prepared with a good general knowledge of your financial situation, like assets and liabilities. Ask plenty of questions – like, who are their typical clients? - to make sure that your financial planner’s skills and experience match your needs. While expertise and qualifications are essential to providing quality professional financial advice, it’s often the care, attention and understanding of a financial adviser that’s most valuable. Speaking about money, hopes, dreams and plans for the future is not always an easy topic. It’s important to find a financial adviser who understands you, and that you feel comfortable and confident with. For more information about Financial advice and how it could help you or you and your family, you can visit the Association of Financial Advisers or the Financial Planning Association of Australia here: