Choosing a financial planner
A financial planner is a qualified professional who provides advice on financial issues such as investing, retirement planning and superannuation, insurance and taxation. They can also assist with estate planning.
Financial planners will help you to set your goals and avoid costly mistakes.
A financial planner must meet the qualifications set by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and either hold, or represent an organisation who holds a license approved by ASIC. Visit the ASIC website at www.asic.gov.au to check if the financial planner or business you are dealing with is licensed.
A financial planner will:
- look at your current financial situation
- help you work out your financial and lifestyle needs and goals
- identify your financial issues
- develop a financial plan
- put the plan to work
- at your request, review your plan regularly or when your circumstances change.
Choosing a financial planner takes time. Ask your friends and relatives if they have any recommendations. Your financial services provider, your credit union or bank, may have an in-house planner, or they may be able to recommend a planner. The Financial Planning Association of Australia, the Association of Financial Advisers and CPA Australia have ‘find a financial planner’ services. You can also look in your local newspapers or business directories.
When you have a list of planners, contact them and ask for their financial services guide. This will give you a good idea of what they can offer you and if they specialise in a particular area.
Some financial planners will charge you a percentage amount each year, based on the amount you have invested with them. Others will ask for an upfront payment or will charge you on an hourly rate for advice. Make sure that you’re clear about these costs before you sign anything.