Learn more about Financial Planning

There are many levels of financial planning, either self-directed or from a licensed financial adviser who can help with strategies to reach your goals.
A financial plan should address your financial situation, enable you to prioritise your objectives and offer clear strategies to help you achieve them.
Many people only start developing a financial plan later in life due to unfortunate events. Starting early gives you more time to make your plan a reality.
There are numerous financial planning information sources, whether it's a one-off or an ongoing arrangement with an adviser.
Managing your own finances can be hard regarding the many types of investments, insurances, superannuation choices, tax factors, and laws.
Whether you want an adviser's help or are seeking information to implement your own plan, it is crucial to know what may or may not be financial advice.
When you see a financial adviser, they will talk about general advice versus personal advice. This section explains the difference and why it matters.
Robo advice, or digital advice, is financial advice delivered online or via an app, without seeing an adviser. It can be convenient and cost-effective.
A financial adviser is a highly trained professional with the necessary expertise to help you develop your financial plan and provide you with advice.
A financial adviser helps clarify what matters most to you and sets you on course goal-wise. They can offer ways to protect you from financial stress.
As with any big purchase, it's crucial to know what you get for your dollar. You must review the advice - and any costs - before committing.
It's important to find a financial adviser you feel comfortable with. It's also important to look past their personality and focus on the advice provided.
If you decide to seek financial advice, you should make time to find a good financial adviser who is suitably qualified to help meet your goals.
The fact-finding process is an important part of the first meeting. It helps to identify what is relevant and determine priorities.
"Risk" can mean different things to different people. It is one of the most difficult concepts to explain and far harder to measure or determine.
By the end of the first meeting, your adviser should understand your financial and personal position.
Do you know your SOA from your ROA? Here are the financial planning documents and terms you need to understand.
A good financial adviser will recommend suitable investments for your financial objectives: shares, property, managed funds, fixed income or cash.
Fees vary between advisers but expect to pay several thousand dollars to have your financial plan set up, and the same again each year for ongoing advice.
Your financial adviser should describe what the review process will entail, the proposed frequency and the relevant costs for providing this service.
A financial plan should be easy to understand, clearly explaining how the recommendations meet your goals, and why any recommendations are suitable.
The financial services industry is "young" compared with other professions, such as medicine and law. It's still finding its feet and establishing its standards.
There are Australian government bodies that monitor the services of financial advisers and related parties. They aim to protect you and hold the industry accountable.
A financial adviser must be licensed to provide personal advice and recommendations. But there are also obligations regarding their conduct.
Understanding an adviser's obligations to you means you have a yardstick to assess whether they have done their job properly.
There may be times when the financial advice provided to you is not appropriate. If you feel something has gone wrong, it's important to know what to do.
Is your adviser independent or associated with other entities that may influence their advice? This helps determine potential conflicts of interest.
You may only need one-off financial advice, but if you want it ongoing you need to know how much involvement you want and what you are prepared to pay.
You should regularly monitor your financial plan to make sure any issues can be resolved quickly.
There's probably no need to involve your family in financial planning, but helping them understand the benefits is one of the best things you can do.
If your finances are simple and you can manage them yourself after seeing an adviser, it may be time to go it alone.
What do you want from the financial planning process? Checklists can help ensure your bases are covered.
Questions can not only reveal your adviser's knowledge but also their personality, style and attitude, and if you can work together.
The first meeting enables you and the adviser to see if you can work together. Think of it as two-way information-sharing.
Financial advisers must do continuing professional development training and assessment to keep their industry knowledge and skills up to date.