Most of us are not familiar with what’s involved with financial advice and how it works.
In a nutshell, it’s three key steps:
Basically the end goal is to improve your financial outcomes. This illustration somewhat simplifies the process. Of course, there’s a lot more going on within each step but it helps you see the big picture. But it doesn’t stop there – it’s an ongoing cycle to review your plan from time to time and trace back through steps 1 to 3 to make sure you’re still on track.
The first meeting with a financial planner is a two-way street:
On one side, it’s intended to give your planner an idea of who you are, what your priorities and attitudes are, as well as get a clear picture of your financial position. It’s designed to get you thinking about your financial goals – both in the short and long term.
On the other side, it’s also intended to give you an idea of how your planner can help you. The financial planner will compare your current financial situation to where you want to be, identify any gaps and outline ways that they can help you get there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t understand.
Depending on the level of advice you’re after, you will agree a fee for service with your financial planner, who will provide you with a Client Services Agreement which sets out a fixed quote. Simply sign this agreement and return it to us to indicate your acceptance.
Your first meeting with a financial planner is free of charge, and there’s absolutely no obligation to proceed beyond this point. In fact, your financial planner will let you know if you need broader financial advice.
Analysis and recommendation
Your financial planner will carefully review all of your information including your circumstances, priorities and goals to create a strategy specifically for you.
All of their recommendations will be set out in a financial plan known as a Statement of Advice. Your Statement of Advice is prepared with your specific circumstances, financial situation and goals taken into account.
It’s completely up to you to decide whether or not to implement the recommended strategies, but it’s worth remembering that this advice has been given with your absolute best interests in mind.
If you’re happy with your financial planner’s recommendations, you can implement them. Remember, the advice is only going to help you if you actually follow through on the recommendations made.
Your financial planner is there for you at every stage of implementation (you’re not in this alone!) and will help you work through your action plan.
Review and adjustment
Financial plans are not set in stone. It’s worth meeting with your financial planner every 1 to 2 years – that’s because, as you move through life, your circumstances change (for example, you may get married or divorced, start a family, inherit money or plan to retire).
It’s important to review your financial plan in light of your new circumstances to identify necessary adjustments that will keep your financial strategy on track.
For more information about the advice process, refer to our Fact Sheet – Getting financial advice or call us on 1800 757 607.