HOW FINANCIAL PLANNING WORKS

The financial planning process comprises a number of steps to ensure that the client’s immediate needs (ie living expenses) and future objectives (eg saving for a holiday or retirement) can be achieved.

The process involves:

(1) A “fact find” involving the collection of personal information to ensure that the adviser understands your financial position (assets, debts, policies etc), lifestyle needs and future objectives.

(2) The presentation of a written recommendation that details the preferred strategy option and supporting logic, alternatives considered, cash flow and asset projections where relevant and both initial and ongoing fees.

(3) The implementation of the recommendation which may involve the establishment of policies or investments, require the client make changes to their current savings or risk protection arrangements or simply referral to a tax accountant or solicitor to address tax and estate planning issues.

(4) Regular review (at least annually or more frequently where appropriate) of the client’s situation and needs/objectives which can change significantly over time, making any existing strategies perhaps less relevant.

Benefits of planning

There are several benefits of adopting a planned approach to your financial well-being and working with me, including the following:

  • Smart investment decisions. It can be daunting trying to make investment decisions in isolation and that’s where getting the right financial advice comes in. My approach to financial planning ensures our financial planning advice is highly transparent and you don’t feel alone or rushed (or fooled) when making decisions on complex financial issues.
  • Cashflow continuation.  When we are working our income comes primarily from our salary.  Income in retirement is likely to come from a combination of sources, such as income streams, social security and earnings from investments or a part time job. I can help you put together a plan to replace your salary once you stop work. For those who will receive a lump sum rather than a pension from a superannuation fund, regular income in retirement can be very important.  
  • Minimising tax. While you’re working we can show you different strategies which can reduce the amount of tax you’re paying while significantly boosting your super savings.  When you retire and don’t have a regular salary it’s even more important to minimise the amount of tax that you have to pay on your income. Changes to the superannuation system, that allow tax-free income after age 60 from taxed superannuation funds, have altered the retirement planning landscape, providing certain conditions are met. Some traditional income sources such as fixed interest investments like term deposits are generally fully taxable and have become significantly less attractive in retirement.  I will discuss a range of options for you to consider such as superannuation income streams that can provide a regular income and help you manage tax.  
  • Positive social security outcomes. Understanding the complexity of the social security system is not easy. I can help you determine if you may be eligible for social security support. Importantly, as your circumstances change over time, social security entitlements may also change.  
  • Security and peace of mind. A basic rule of sound investing is to spread your money over a range of different investments. This is called diversification. It’s like the old saying: ‘Don’t put all your eggs in the one basket’.  I will help you develop a plan that is right for your circumstances and suggest a range of investments that suit your financial and lifestyle objectives.
  • Ongoing support. As you get older and transition through the phases of life you’ll probably find that your needs will change. At the same time, taxation, social security and superannuation legislation is also constantly evolving. An ongoing relationship with me means I am there to assist you over the life journey. It’s worthwhile remembering that many people considering retirement today will be retired for more than 25 years, and so ongoing support is a vital part of your long-term planning.

How do I charge?

Initial meeting:  No fee is charged. During this meeting, I primarily listen to you to gain an understanding of your situation and needs. This allows specific issues to be identified which may requirement attention. I can then propose a way forward including the process required and fees to be paid should you elect to become a client. No advice will be provided at this point.

Sometimes, general advice regarding say, the status of the sharemarket, how superannuation and pensions work etc may be requested. An hourly rate fee will be charged for this advice.

Subsequent time: I am remunerated by our clients who pay me a fixed fee based upon my hourly rate and the time expected to complete the work. Review fees depend upon the frequency of review and complexity of your situation. Where investment or insurance products are recommended, all commissions are rebated to you as additional capital or lower premiums (unless you prefer a commission to be paid in lieu of a fee).

The advantages of this approach include:

  • Total focus upon your specific needs, not product solutions. This is very pertinent to many people who require high quality, strategy based advice rather than investment advice only and fee transparency.
  • Removal of any bias or conflicts of interest when selecting products or policies for recommendation when appropriate.
  • Higher sums to invest or insure and thus better investment performance.
  • Fees are consistent with both the time involved in providing both initial and ongoing advice. Therefore, clients are less likely to overpay as everyone is paying a fair fee.
  • Clients can “switch off” the fee at will should they wish to change the servicing arrangement.

Please note: The fee remains payable for work done should you elect not to proceed with the recommendation.

Finally, I am flexible in that a commission can sometimes be negotiated in lieu of a fee payment if acceptable to both parties. You can get an indication of fees by visiting my fee schedule page, click here.

Why not book an appointment with me to discuss your financial journey?

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