Financial planning is not just something for the rich and well-off to worry about.
Looking after your financial health, for now and for the future, is actually more important the less wealth you have. This is what certified financial planner, and member of the Financial Planners Association (FPA), Paul Zobonos told Fairfax Media in an interview.
Specifically, he said “There’s a misconception that you need a lot of money before you see a financial planner, and that’s just not the case.”
Whether it’s for reducing your debt faster, saving, investing, or simply taking the need to plan for your retirement as seriously as everyone should, the right professional advice will help you make the most of what you have and of what you earn.
Mr Zobonos, and other financial planners, are also highly aware of the need to perform a “balancing act with how much you put away for the future and how much you use for current needs.”
FIND A PLANNER
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission offers plenty of helpful guidance with regards to not only improving your financial literacy (which is actually the ability to make informed decisions about money or assets), but also in regards to choosing the right financial adviser for you.
ASIC’s Moneysmart website, moneysmart.gov.au, says “A good financial adviser will help you set your financial goals and create a plan to achieve them.”
Once you’ve found someone local and convenient, the first thing ASIC wants you to do is check their Financial Adviser Register to ensure the person is licenced to provide you with personal advice.
Next, they say you need to “Read the financial services guide (FSG) of any financial advisers you are seriously considering.”
Moneysmart’s other tip is “When you speak with an adviser, make sure they focus on the services and strategies they can offer you, rather than the products they can sell you.”
Next they recommend you check that the adviser is a member of an industry association or a professional body because they will have a code of conduct for members to follow, require them to participate in ongoing training, and there will be a mechanism for handling complaints.
One other point they mention is to check the adviser’s fees, even if it’s just an estimate, so you have a better idea of what you’ll be paying them.
Lastly, Moneysmart also notes that some lawyers can also offer financial advice.
Simply check the register to ensure they have an AFS licence or they work for someone who does.