Many Australians don’t fully understand what financial planners actually do. In fact, up to 80% of Australians have never sought financial advice from a professional. So, we thought we’d outline some of the many things financial planners do.

  1. Put your interests first

Your financial planner will always put your interests first. Your initial meeting is where you can ask as many questions as you need to ensure you feel comfortable working with them. They will also ask you questions to find out what your goals are, your attitudes to risk and reward, and your level of financial education to ensure they are providing the most appropriate advice for your circumstances. One thing they won’t do is recommend a particular strategy because it’s what they offer all clients. They should also provide totally independent advice not tied to any particular provider.

  1. Maintains open lines of communication

A financial planner doesn’t just hold an initial meeting, set up a Statement of Advice, take your money and run. They are there to tell you the truth as they see it, even if it may be uncomfortable to hear. They act as a sounding board to bounce your own investment ideas off. They keep you updated on how your strategy is progressing and keep you informed if you need to make any changes. They will also provide suggestions for any opportunistic or strategic investment switches to ensure you have the best portfolio in place. It’s also important your financial planner communicates with your accountant and lawyer to ensure all of your advisers are working together towards a common goal. Your financial planner will hold regular review meetings with you to ensure you are on track to meet your goals and advise of any new opportunities you may want to take advantage of. All of this will be done using plain English so you understand exactly what the plan is and why they are suggesting it. After all, it is your money so it’s important you understand what is happening and why.

  1. Develops strategies appropriate for your stage of life

A financial planner will provide advice that varies according to what life stage you are at. The advice could be ensuring you and your family are adequately protected, helping you to grow your super and investments, or setting you up for a comfortable retirement. Your financial plan will change throughout your life as your circumstances and goals change and your adviser can provide recommendations to suit.

  1. Has appropriate qualifications to give advice

A financial planner must be appropriately qualified to give advice, at a minimum they will have a degree and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) status but many have more than one qualification. They are also required to undertake continuing professional development to ensure their qualifications remain current and they are providing the best possible advice. They may be actively involved with industry groups to ensure they are up to date with any potential regulatory changes. They can then impart this knowledge on to you, the client.

  1. All the rest

Some of the other areas a financial planner can assist with, depending on their experience and qualifications may include:

  • Advice on various aged-care options
  • Estate planning
  • General financial tips for your children
  • Inter-generational wealth strategies
  • Plans for transitioning to retirement
  • Insurance advice
  • Advice on the optimum superannuation vehicle (SMSF, retail or industry fund)

Your financial planner is your trusted adviser who can help you grow, manage and protect your wealth at every stage of your life. Their knowledge and experience means that they can recommend the most appropriate strategy to meet your financial goals. Because they are constantly updating their knowledge, they may even recommend something you hadn’t ever thought of. You don’t need to put ‘getting your finances in order’ into the ‘too hard basket’. Instead, contact a financial planner to discuss your goals and work out a strategy specific to your needs.

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