This guide can help you decide whether it’s time to seek financial advice – and how to find the best adviser for your needs.
Research shows that Australians who receive financial advice will be over $90,000 better off in retirement. But the benefits are more than just financial. Advice can help you achieve the peace of mind that you are making the best decisions to help secure your future.1
No matter where you are on your journey, a financial adviser can provide perspective on where you are, and whether you’re on the right track.
When would I need a financial adviser?
Many people believe they only need a financial adviser if they have a significant sum to invest. However, a good financial adviser can help you reach all your financial goals in life – so you can have more control over the choices, big and small, you make every day.
Their role is to help you achieve the lifestyle you’ve always wanted – and it’s never too late to start.
A financial adviser can help you:
- Set and achieve your financial goals
- Become financially secure
- Protect your assets, income and family
- Become debt free
- Get a better work-life balance
- Make the most of your self managed super fund
- Invest in your children’s future
- Retire in comfort
- Plan for aged care.
Find out more about what financial advice can do for you.
What to expect from a financial adviser
1. Meet and greet
This is your opportunity to meet your adviser, ask questions, discuss costs and see if you’re comfortable with them. To get the most out of this meeting, bring as much information about your financial situation as you can.
- Ask questions and discuss your goals
- Your adviser will outline fees and discuss next steps
2. Your personalised plan
Your adviser will provide you with a personalised plan to help you meet your personal financial goals. They will explain the options to you and answer any questions so you’re completely comfortable with your plan.
- Discuss options
- Receive your personalised plan
Now you can put your plan into action. Your adviser will stay in touch and review your plan to keep you on track.
- Implement your personalised plan
- They will keep you informed on how you are tracking to achieve your goals
How much should financial advice cost?
You may be surprised by how affordable financial advice can be.
Your first meeting with a financial adviser is typically free of charge, and you have no obligation to proceed if you don’t feel they’re right for you.
Before you go any further, your adviser must clearly outline any fees and get your written approval – so there shouldn’t be any surprises. These fees may include a statement of advice fee, an implementation fee, and ongoing advice fees. They may also receive a commission – for example, if you take our new life insurance through them – and they should explain this clearly upfront as well.
The cost of the advice will depend on the complexity of your situation and the scope of advice you agree with your adviser. Your financial adviser will explain all costs clearly to you when they take you through their Financial Services Guide. ASIC's MoneySmart website also provides a guide on fees.
It does take time to document your current situation and provide tailored, personal advice, so this can be money well spent.
You may choose to continue with an ongoing service from your adviser to ensure your plan stays on track. Your adviser may charge an ongoing service fee to ensure your plan is implemented, reviewed and updated to keep you moving towards your financial goals. You may wish to pay upfront, or the cost may come out of your investments.
Make sure you understand what any additional fees will cover – such as admin costs, market insights and reports, access to an investment platform or ongoing investment management fees.
Get in touch with a financial adviser
Your financial adviser is with you for the long haul, so finding someone you can build a trusted relationship with is really important. There are many different types of advisers – some are within the Commonwealth Bank Group, some are part of other networks and some are independent. Use our Find an adviser search tool to find an adviser near your, or you can also look at industry directories such as the Financial Planning Association.
Check ASIC’s financial advisers register to make sure they have an Australian Financial Services licence and you feel comfortable with their experience and qualifications.
- Relevant qualifications – at least a diploma or above
- Experience with clients who may have similar goals or concerns – such as planning for retirement or small business owners
- Access to a broad range of financial products and solutions
- Ability to advise on all your current financial needs
- Evidence they keep up to date with industry and regulatory changes
- Membership of an industry association.
What do I need for my first meeting with a financial adviser?
It’s important to know what you want to achieve, and also think about any questions you want to ask the adviser before you first meet. This could include any queries about fees or experience, or asking about aspects of super or investing that you’re not clear about.
You’ll need to provide a clear picture of your assets (house, car, savings and investments) and liabilities (debts). Make sure you have a file ready with all those financial documents, including your recent bank, mortgage and superannuation statements, a household budget or list of expenses, current amounts outstanding on credit cards and personal loans, and any insurance policies.
Ready to take the next step on your financial journey?
Find an adviser to help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be.
1 KPMG Econtech, Value Proposition of Financial Advisory Networks, 2011