Why Choose a Best Professional Advice Financial Adviser?

When you choose a financial adviser who is featured on Best Professional Advice you instantly know some important things about them:

  • They are qualified and licensed to give financial advice.
  • As a member of a professional association the adviser has agreed to abide by a Code of Conduct that governs their professional practice and behaviour.
  • They have committed to undertake professional development that exceeds the mandated regulatory requirement.
  • They have access to extensive training and professional development opportunities.

Whilst meeting academic learning and regulatory requirements are essential to providing quality professional financial advice, it is often the care, attention, empathy and understanding of a financial adviser that clients value most.

Do you need financial advice?

Advisers mostly add value by helping you sort out your financial goals and working with you to develop a plan to achieve them over time. Most importantly, working with an adviser will help you turn thought into action, especially if you tend to put things off.
Professional advice is most valuable when you’re going through a big life event like starting a family, being retrenched or managing an inheritance. It’s also great for less immediate goals like growing your super or planning for retirement.The type of advice you need will depend on your life stage, the amount of money you have to invest and the complexity of your affairs.

What qualifications should a financial planner have?

Has a formally recognised qualification – at a minimum a diploma of financial services (Financial Planning) up to Certified Financial Planner(R) (CFP) or a Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner (FChFP). They need to have or be a representative of an Australian Financial Services Licence. They should be a member of a professional association and abide by their Code of Conduct. They must also undertake ongoing professional development per the mandated regulatory requirement.

Who can call themselves a financial planner?

Unfortunately the current law does not restrict the use of this term and can currently be used by anyone who provides financial advice in some shape or form, including stock brokers, mortgage brokers, bank tellers and even lawyers.

You need to look for someone who:

  • Has or is a representative of an Australian Financial Services Licence
  • Has a formally recognised qualification – See: What qualifications should a financial planner have?
  • Takes time to learn about your individual circumstances, needs & goals
  • Is more interested in developing a strategy than selling you a product
  • Fees & charges are clear & fully disclosed.

What do you need to ask at an initial meeting?

A sure sign of a good financial planner is that they don’t rush you, they carefully listen to you and clearly explain where they can add value and where they can’t. It can also help to do some homework before the meeting to make it productive & aligned with the planner’s specialities:

  • Set some goals – what you hope to be doing in five or 10 years’ time or after retirement. Buying your first home, funding your kids’ education, travelling, being debt free
  • Get a grasp of your finances – completing a budget beforehand can be quite enlightening, by going through credit card statements & bank accounts to work out your household spending.
  • Know your money weak spots – it can be easy to be an emotional spender, making guilty impulse purchases. If you know your financial downfalls, a good adviser will
  • look at ways to make you a disciplined spender and help put your money towards generating wealth.
  • Have the money talk with your partner – It’s quite common for there to be some tension over money between couples, especially when it comes to joint accounts and budgets. Get to know each other better and once you’ve identified common goals and areas of difference you have a great foundation and starting point for financial planning.

Speaking about money and your hopes, dreams and plans for the future is not always easy and may not be a topic you discuss with everyone. So, it’s important to find a financial adviser who understands you and that you feel a personal connection with.

What sort of advice do you need?

There are two types of advice that you can seek:

  • holistic (which takes into account your full financial situation, needs and goals) or
  • scaled (where you only seek advice for particular purposes).

Scaled advice is means that you could see a financial planner for a particular purpose that is most relevant to you at any point in time – without the need to go through a holistic process that takes your full financial situation into account.

While scaled advice can make financial planning more affordable, it’s important to not lose sight of the bigger picture. This is where a professional financial planner can help you to take a step back and review your total financial situation.

How much does financial planning cost?

By law all financial planners must disclose all forms of payment and fees. The cost to you will depend on the complexity of your financial situation and plan, as well as the fee method the planner uses.
There are various ways to structure fees, and it typically starts with an initial fee to cover identifying your needs, developing a strategy and implementing the recommendations. There could also be administration and ongoing service fees for regular reviews of your plan to ensure it meets your changing circumstances.