A 5 Step Guide to Help You Achieve Expert Financial Advice

If you’ve recently considered getting financial advice from a professional, you may have found yourself a tad overwhelmed with the plethora of information available on the web and the multitude of sources of Financial advice available, from receiving financial advice from your personal banker to a professional of an independently owned financial practice, the list is endless. To help in your pursuit of obtaining expert financial advice, we’ve compiled a 5-step guide to help point you in the right direction.

1. Understand the types of financial advice available

Before obtaining any advice, you should first ask yourself, what is it that your seeking advice on? Are you seeking general information about financial products, such as insurance or shares? Or are you interested in advice that is specific and tailored to you, such as your current savings, investments or retirement planning.

There are 4 main types of advice available in Australia. General advice, which is general fact-based information. Personal advice, which is advice tailored specifically to you.  Tax (financial) advice, which is offered by advisers who generally specialise in this type of advice and usually includes tax implications on choices such as commencing a salary sacrifice arrangement or accelerating the repayment of a mortgage. And lastly, SMSF advice, which is specialised advice for anyone who wishes to establish or needs assistance with the development and documentation of their SMSF.

2. Check out what resources are available to your first

If it’s general information that you after, you are likely able to obtain this information online from a range of websites such as the ATO’, ASIC’s Money Smart website or even The Department of Human Services’ Financial Information Service.

Your super fund will also be able to provide you with fact-based information and may be able to guide you towards an online tool, such as a budget calculator or even an online educational seminar.

3. Decide what level of paid advice you require

While free information is always great to have access too, you’ll need to determine if the advice you need is specific to your current financial position.This is known as ‘personal advice’, which you will need to pay for.If you choose to opt for personal advice you will then need to determine if it’s once-off advice or an on-going advice engagement with a professional.An initial meeting with a financial planner will help you determine the type of advice you need, based off your financial position as well as your financial goals. At this time, you should also receive an indication of costs.

4. Decide on where to obtain your advice from

As mentioned earlier, there are many financial planners available to choose from. All of whom specialise in different areas of advice. A key difference between financial planners is who they are licenced by.

Generally, there are two types. Those who work for, or are licenced by a financial institution or those who are independent of the institutions.

Remember the name of the licence doesn’t necessarily indicate who owns them. As an example, Hillross is owned by AMP and Financial Wisdom by CBA. These are two examples of many more. Please for a more detailed list.

5. Determine the cost of the advice

Once you’ve decided what type of advice you’re seeking and from whom you would like to obtain the advice, you should work out how much you are willing to spend.

There are generally three cost points to be aware of when seeking initial advice…

  1. Research and development of a financial plan tailored to your needs
  2. Documentation of the advice and
  3. Implementation of the recommendations.

You will then need to consider what level of ongoing care you require.

As is the case with most things, costs vary quite significantly. A professional financial planner should charge based on anticipated work level. Costs can only be estimated once a professional advisor knows your personal needs and circumstances and can better guage the work required to prepare and see through a Financial Plan to completion.

Please note: Where you are advised you will pay a % based fee, it may be in your best interests to seek an alternative advisor.

LifeTime Financial Group are specialist (holding appropriate accreditations) advisors who are ideally positioned to assist you in selecting and then managing your retirement funds.

Would you like to discuss your personal position further with one of our highly qualified financial planners? Why not call us today on 03 9596 7733?

There is no cost or obligation for our initial conversation/meeting.

Written by Anthony Stedman of LifeTime Financial Group. A leading privately owned Melbourne Financial Planning practice.

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