The financial planning process helps you assess your financial position and identify your personal and financial goals. Clearly setting out your goals puts you in a position to make better choices about how to achieve them.
Your adviser can help you set and reach your financial goals. Whether you are planning for retirement, a trip to Europe, your children’s education or for a deposit on your future home, your adviser can help you plan to reach these goals.
Financial advice can cover a range of areas including:
Financial advice can help you identify and plan to achieve your financial goals so you can enjoy the lifestyle you want. An adviser will help you assess your current circumstances, identify your goals and priorities, and recommend financial strategies and products that will help you reach your goals.
Whether you need money to fund your children’s education, take a career break, or achieve something that gives you a better lifestyle, your adviser can build a wealth-creation strategy that enables you to meet your day-to-day living expenses, manage your debt and is tax effective, so you can achieve your goals.
An adviser can help you borrow to invest, accelerate your savings and make the most of your superannuation.
Your world can dramatically change through unexpected illness or injury. An adviser can help you establish measures to protect your wealth and design a tailored solution to suit your needs. With a financial safety net in place you can be better prepared to support yourself and those depending on you, should something unexpected happen.
Quality financial advice can help you create a secure and comfortable future for you and your family. Because it is based on your goals and priorities it is tailored to suit your needs and puts you in control of your financial future.
For more information on money and getting advice visit the Financial Literacy Foundation's website - www.understandingmoney.gov.au.
As your family circumstances change your adviser can recommend appropriate adjustments to your financial plan. Events that may require a reassessment of your finances can include:
Your adviser can help you deal with debt so you get the greatest return. Strategies that may be recommended can include debt consolidation, increased frequency for your mortgage payments or even borrowing to fund additional investments. Your adviser will assess these options in conjunction with your goals and the level of risk you are comfortable with.
Your adviser can help you determine the level of savings you need for retirement and provide guidance on those strategies that will deliver the income you need. Your adviser can give you advice on super strategies, government pensions, options around employment and how these choices can affect benefits.
If you are faced with redundancy your adviser can help you make critical decisions so you maintain your financial security during this change. Your adviser can help you invest your payout to ensure it delivers long term benefits in a tax effective manner. They will also be able to identify whether you are eligible for government benefits and advise you on how to manage your superannuation.
Knowing your finances are taken care of will leave you free to concentrate on planning your next career move.
In developing your financial plan, your adviser will also look at tax strategies to help you get the most from your investments. As a result your adviser may recommend strategies such as income splitting, salary sacrificing to superannuation or tax effective investments.
Being financially fit is about making sure all aspects of your financial situation are in order. But where do you start? Complete this questionnaire (913kb PDF) to identify areas of your finances that are healthy and strong and others that may need some improvement. It’s a good starting point before visiting a financial adviser who can help get your finances in great shape.
OnePath believes quality financial advice is key in helping you reach your future goals so we work with advisers to make it easier for you.
OnePath actively supports advisers to help them service their clients by providing:
The first step in finding the right adviser is to broadly identify your lifestyle and financial goals. Once you've done this you will know what sort of financial advice you are looking for and whether you may need specialist advice.
Check to ensure the adviser is qualified and authorised. Only employees or representatives of organisations that hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) are able to offer financial advice. You can check whether an adviser is licensed by logging onto the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) website. Click here to visit ASIC’s site to use this service.
Some advisers offer the initial consultation free of charge. This provides a great opportunity for you to get to know the adviser and see if they are the right fit for you in terms of their personality and expertise. A free consultation is a good chance to ask the adviser questions about their:
Like buying any other service it is worthwhile shopping around to see what options are available before establishing a relationship with an adviser. Here are some tips on finding a suitable adviser.
Preparing for your first visit with an adviser is important. Find out what to expect and how to prepare. When you visit an adviser you can expect them to:
The process of gaining financial advice varies depending on your situation and the adviser you are using. Generally the process will include the following:
Your adviser is likely to provide you with a number of documents to ensure you understand the service being offered, any ownership arrangements, the recommendations made to you, the financial products recommended and analysis undertaken.
Documentation that your adviser may give you includes:
Statement of Advice
A Statement of Advice (SoA) is a document that sets out your situation, goals and your adviser’s financial recommendations. The SoA will vary from individual to individual because it has been written with your specific circumstances in mind. However, some of the common elements SoA’s should include:
Financial Services Guide (FSG)
Product Disclosure Statement
Whenever a financial product is recommended to you, a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) will be given to you. It contains detailed information about a specific product including features and benefits, fees and conditions or commissions that may affect your return.
An adviser will ask you questions to understand your current situation and what you would like your future to look like. When you see your adviser you should be prepared to discuss:
The information you provide will become the basis from which the adviser will develop your financial plan known as a Statement of Advice. The more detail you provide the better equipped they will be to understand and assess your needs and develop appropriate recommendations.
The format of your first visit will depend on how you set this up initially. You may have even been able to gain a free initial consultation.You may need more information about who the adviser is and how they operate to feel confident in following their advice. Prepare a list of questions for the adviser. Before seeing an adviser make sure you understand the reasons you have for seeing one, your financial position and priorities.
Gather together your financial documents and have them on hand in case you need to refer to them. Your adviser will ask you questions about your financial position so it is helpful to have a good understanding of these details.Before going to the meeting you might like to review your existing budget, your level of super and savings, your income, your family situation and any lifestyle changes you foresee that may affect any of these.
What fees are involved with financial advice?
Fees and charges attached to financial advice can vary, so it is important you understand what your upfront fees and ongoing costs will be for the advice you are receiving.
Fees and charges are generally paid by either one or a combination of the following methods:
The method of remuneration for advisers can vary, make sure your adviser clearly explains your options and ensures you understand how this will affect you now and into the future.
Your adviser should clearly communicate and you should agree on the services to be provided and fees to be paid, before moving ahead with your plan.
Arrangements with other organisations
An adviser must disclose ownership arrangements and any affiliations they have with other organisations. Knowing this information will assist you in making informed decisions regarding the type of adviser you prefer to work with and in assessing their recommendations.
Your relationship with your adviser is key to establishing a successful financial plan. It is important that you look for an adviser who:
As the relationship with your adviser has the potential to become a long term one, you need to feel comfortable with your adviser on a personal and business level.
There are many ways to find an adviser. These include personal recommendations from friends and family, through your bank, the internet or the phone book.
To help you find an adviser in your area the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) has set up a financial planning company directory and referral service. To view the directory or find out more about how the FPA can help you, visit the FPA website.
OnePath can also help you find an adviser in your local area. Contact a member of our advisory networks: