Why use a financial adviser?
Good advice from an experienced, well-informed financial adviser can help you:
- save money
- protect against financial risk
- remove or manage debt
- grow assets
- provide strategies to improve tax outcomes
- plan for retirement
- identify entitlements for government benefits
- plan what inheritance is to be left to your dependents
- plan your move or the move of a loved one to aged care.
There a number of life events where seeking financial advice can help provide certainty, peace of mind and confidence. Changing jobs or getting married provide new opportunities. A redundancy or divorce also brings financial change. A financial adviser can help you make the most of these life changing events.
In 2011, the Financial Services Council (FSC) in conjunction with KPMG, undertook some interesting research into how Australians access financial advice. The results showed that individuals with a financial adviser saved more than those without one, resulting in additional wealth for an individual (source: www.fsc.org.au).
Having a financial adviser by your side will help you get ahead.
How does your financial adviser provide this value?
A financial adviser will provide this value through their financial advice process. The process involves providing advice and assistance to you to determine whether and how you can meet your financial needs and life goals through the proper management of your financial resources.
The financial advice process typically includes but is not limited to the following elements:
- establishing your goals
- gathering relevant information to assist with strategy development
- analysing and evaluating your financial status, including problem identification
- developing a financial plan and presenting recommendations and/or alternatives for consideration with you
- implementing the agreed-upon recommendations, and
- reviewing and updating the financial plan as required.
The financial planning process can be applied to meet your needs on:
- a full range of your goals on a comprehensive basis,
- a subset of your goals on a more limited basis, or
- a specific goal/need on a specialised basis.
Given the advice provided is based upon your needs, the recommendations the adviser makes will seek to provide you with the outcomes you desire. The discovery phase, the advice strategy, asset allocation and product selection/administration stages are the practical steps which make your goals a reality.
A financial adviser’s first responsibility is to you - the client. When providing personal financial advice, an adviser must take into account your circumstances and goals.
The financial advice may or may not involve the recommendation of a financial product.
How can you tell if you are getting good advice?
Good financial advice ensures you are making the most of your financial resources so you can build your assets. It also helps you achieve financial security and brings you peace of mind.
- takes your personal needs and goals into account
- puts your needs first
- is provided to you in clear and understandable terms
- is explained in writing in a Statement of Advice
- is explained to you verbally, with the opportunity to ask questions
- includes strategies and solutions addressing your financial goals and objectives
- clearly identifies costs which are openly discussed and explained, and
- explains any conflicts of interest which may influence the adviser’s recommendations.
Not so good advice:
- the adviser is not employed by or does not represent a licensed advisory business
- the adviser does not provide a Financial Services Guide at the first client meeting
- the adviser does not seek to fully identify your needs and goals and other relevant financial information
- the adviser does not adequately explain complexities in a clear and understandable manner
- the adviser does not consider your investment risk profile (if you are seeking to invest)
- the adviser ‘sells’ a product without explaining the risks