New generation of financial planners to take on finfluencers


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Government announces new breed of financial advisors, influencers under fire from ACCC, and how to be sure your festive donations don't fill a scammer's Christmas stocking. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

New class of financial advice announced

Over 5 million Australians are in or approaching retirement, and that means soaring demand for financial advice.

tiktok finfluencers asic

The trouble is, plenty of us can't afford professional advice.

That's left a vacuum filled by finfluencers on TikTok, Reddit and other social media platforms.

This week saw the federal government announce a new class of financial advisers, who will fill the advice gap.

This new breed of advisers will focus on simple advice - and they won't be able to charge a fee or commission.

These so-called 'qualified advisers' are expected to be available through banks, super funds, and insurance companies.

The change won't happen overnight. Legislation to introduce the qualified advisers will be developed in 2024.

81% of influencer posts raise concerns

Consumer watchdog, the ACCC, has conducted a sweep of 118 social media influencers.

Without naming names, the ACCC found more than eight out of 10 (81%) influencers it looked at were making posts that raised concerns around potentially misleading advertising.

ACCC acting chair Catriona Lowe says, "Many of the influencers did not make adequate disclosures in their posts where it appeared they were receiving payment, gifts or other incentives to promote brands, products or services."

A common issue was influencers using vague or confusing language to disclose advertising, such as 'sp' and 'spon' instead of 'sponsored'.

"Under the Australian Consumer Law, businesses must not mislead or deceive consumers," says Lowe.

The sweep reviewed influencers on Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook, and the live streaming service, Twitch.

The influencers were tipped off to the ACCC by consumers.

Aussies flock to surf for free entertainment but spend hundreds on beach gear

More than 6 million Aussies plan to hit the beach this summer as nine out of 10 of us chase free activities to save money.

One in five beachgoers admit to using the ocean to cool down rather than face a cranked-up air con bill at home.

But time spent surfside isn't entirely free.

Research by ING shows beachgoers are forking out big bucks on creature comforts, with families spending an average of $306 on canopies, picnics and beach chairs.

With that sort of outlay, it's worth being mindful of a few rules of etiquette to enjoy yourself especially as beaches are likely to be crowded over the holiday season.

ING found beachgoers' pet peeves include:

  • 86% - leaving rubbish behind
  • 77% - not thinking about where you shake your towel
  • 59% - blocking out someone else's rays with your sun shade
  • 49% - hogging the barbecues.

Is your Christmas charity going to a scammer?

'Tis the season for giving, but the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is advising consumers to run a simple check before making charitable donations.

ACNC Commissioner Sue Woodward says many charities are running their Christmas and festive season appeals right now.

However, she says it is important to make sure you are giving to a real charity, not a scammer.

"Cyber-criminals are out there, trying to take advantage of our kind-heartedness and generosity, especially at this time of year," says Woodward.

"We recommend that if you get a text, email or phone call asking you for a donation to charity, don't click that link, and don't tell anyone your name or banking details".

Instead, go to the ACNC's Charity Register to check the organisation is a registered charity, and make your donation through the platform.

Or donate directly to the charity using the methods outlined on its website.

The one feature home buyers look for most - and it's not views

Forget a waterfront location or lofty views.

Domain's End of Year Wrap report reveals the most sought-after feature on home buyers' radars.

It turns out the humble backyard swimming pool occupies the number one spot on our property wishlists.

That's closely followed by a study, which shows the work-from-home trend is far from over.

With a long, hot summer ahead, a backyard pool can be a haven from the heat.

But they're not cheap to run.

Finder says the maintenance bill can be anything from $65 to $165 each month depending on the size of a pool.

Along with the raft of chemicals needed to keep a pool sparkling, it's generally recommended to run a pool filter for eight hours each day. Filters are notorious energy guzzlers, and the power they use can bump up your annual electricity bill by 17%.

On the flipside, a pool has the potential to boost the value of your home.

However, Raine & Horne notes that the value a pool adds to your home can depend on its condition and overall presentation.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.