Our financial situation can ebb and flow like the tide. When we’re young and carefree, we tend to see pensions as a low-priority consideration. The career-minded may build up sizable disposable income over time.
It’s not unusual to have financial blips before retirement. Kids, mortgages, redundancy or sickness may all have an impact. Choosing a financial planner should involve getting all your bases covered no matter your time of life or the size of your bank balance.
Read on for the tips you need to find a financial planner who’s always going to be the right fit.
Some Key Financial Milestones
The fact that most of us are not millionaires means we’re all likely to need some financial advice from time to time. What matters is having a plan that you can adapt and come back to so that it always suits your current financial situation.
These are some of the key issues your financial planner should be able to help you with:
- Budgeting and cash flow
- Pension planning, taxes and super
- Debt consolidation, mortgages and loans
- Estate planning savings and investments
- Social care in old age
You may not need to focus on all these financial building blocks at once, but over a lifetime, it’s highly likely you’ll need a plan to deal with most of them. Your financial planner should be able to align themselves with your goals.
They should be able to tailor their service whether it’s to you, your family or your business. Together you should be able to come up with a solid plan for the future that you can adapt as your circumstances change
Find a Financial Planner You Trust
It’s quite possible that you will work with a financial planner over a number of years. It’s therefore important to find someone you know you’ll get on with. They need to inspire confidence so that you always walk away feeling they have your best interests at heart.
Word-of-mouth is often a good place to start. But, to firm up the decision when choosing a financial planner you’ll need a meeting. To an extent, success will depend on the effort and preparation you put in beforehand. So, ahead of your initial meeting, you’ll need a checklist like this:
- Gather all your important financial documents and ID numbers
- Work out your monthly spend on rent/mortgage, bills, expenses and debt
- Have your monthly income figure available
- If you have investments, Centrelink payments or pensions, note them down
- List any assets such as property, super contributions, savings or investments
- Make a note of any insurance products you have like life or income protection
Put Together a List of Questions
Come up with a checklist of questions you’d like to put to your financial planner. For example, if you’re coming up to retirement age, you might want to carry on working part-time for a while to ease into the next phase of your life. How would that work?
It’s possible you may be ready to retire for good and need help with answering queries about a financial plan.
You’re never too young to plan for retirement so if you’re just starting out on a career, find out what your options are. It may be possible to invest your super in a more appropriate way that you are currently unaware of, for example. You may also want to ensure your super goes to the right person should you die.
Plenty of Australians aren’t aware there are income choices you can explore for retirement. These offer alternatives to taking super as a lump sum when you stop working.
If you open an account-based pension, your super balance remains invested with your super fund. This gives your savings the opportunity to carry on growing and last for a little longer, thanks to the compound investment returns. Your financial planner should be able to run through all the options and their potential consequences with you.
Moving Forward with the Right Plan
If you’re married or are in a de facto relationship, ask about the implications. And, if you’ve racked up credit card debt, be open about it. There are typically options that can reduce your monthly payments.
Once your financial planner has a grasp of your current situation and future goals, they should be able to put together a plan for you. Once they present it to you, you’ll have the chance to ask more questions and adapt it as necessary.
When you accept the plan, you should agree with your financial planner when to review it with them. Typically, this might be every year or, sooner, if ever your personal circumstances change.
Your Financial Planner’s Qualifications and Fees
You can check an individual financial adviser’s qualifications, training, and experience on the Australian Government’s Moneysmart Financial Advisers Register.
Many financial planning businesses like PAC Financial will have a team of advisers with a broad range of expertise. It allows them to specialise in all the areas of financial planning you might need over the years.
You should request an outline of your planner’s fees. Ask if they’ll provide a quote for advice before carrying out any work. It’s also wise to ask how they get paid especially if there are any products they sell on which they make a commission.
Check how the services they offer work. For example, you should find out if the planning process is a one-off or ongoing service. Ultimately, you should go with a financial planner who listens and ensures that your unique financial aims and requirements form the basis of all the financial decisions you make.
Get in Touch with the PAC Financial Team Now
Regardless of your current financial situation, at PAC Financial we’ll work with you to come up with a personalised financial plan. We’ll build it from the ground up to give you the best chance of reaching your own individual financial goals.
We’ll help you secure your financial future so you have the right tools to get through any challenges that may lie ahead. Book a free consultation with one of our financial planners today.