How to get free financial advice from your super fund
The third most popular new year's resolution - after losing weight and eating healthy food - is usually about getting the finances in order. But how to go about it?
A good place to start is your superannuation fund, which can provide basic financial advice at no cost.
Super funds, in particular industry funds, offer a range of financial services, from simple, one-off advice over the phone that is typically free to more comprehensive personalised advice for a reasonable fee.
Not-for-profit industry funds focus on the member's best interests and design their financial advice accordingly.
"We hear about various conflicted performance measures and incentives that drive the wrong behaviour, and advice that isn't strictly in the best interest of the member," says Greg Harper, Cbus head of advice and retirement.
"Our entire model from start to finish is accountable, non-conflicted and designed in members' best interests."
Funds offer free advice for straightforward issues such as the best life and income protection insurance for your circumstances, how to maximise your retirement income, the best way to invest your super and whether you need to make voluntary contributions.
For more comprehensive personalised advice Cbus offers members and their partners the opportunity to link up with a certified financial planner (CFP) through the Financial Planning Association.
Pointing to research by Investment Trends, Harper says more than half of all Australians are looking for financial advice about retirement planning, budgeting and insurance. He says it is more important than ever for super funds to step in and offer personalised advice regardless of the member's stage of life.
"Whether it's advice to get finances under control and manage mortgage or credit card debt right through to replacing the pay packet at retirement, our members can access professional advice and assistance with their financial affairs," he says.
To date more than 3000 Cbus members have used the financial planning partnership. It is highly valued, with 96% rating the service positively.
The agreement allows for members to see a CFP professional who meets the qualifications and service criteria set by Cbus and the FPA, and who can give advice on a fee-for-service basis and without product incentives for the planner.
Similar to many industry funds, Cbus offers a free fact-finding meeting with the planner and any fees for advice are agreed with the member in advance. To help make the advice affordable, members may be eligible to have the fees deducted directly from their super account.