Five Questions to ask your Financial Planner

Whether you earn a little or a lot, it’s beneficial to make the time to speak with a financial planner. A financial planner can help you reach your goals and maximise your savings. If you’re looking at engaging the services of a Financial Planner, here are some questions you may wish to ask.

  1. Am I able to start saving for my retirement now?

Your financial planner can help you plan for your retirement by discussing what superannuation and investment structures are appropriate for you.

For example, your financial planner may suggest establishing a self-managed superannuation fund or discuss the benefits of putting extra contributions into your superannuation over your working life, or your superannuation investment options. They will assess your circumstances and see what would work best for you.

  1. Can you can help me achieve my financial goals?

It is important to get a feeling of whether or not an advisor is truly confident in his or her skill set. Not all financial advisors are created equal. Financial advisors specialize in various aspects of finance including: retirement planning, estate planning, tax planning, college planning, insurance planning, etc. It is important to discuss with your potential advisor whether or not they are competent in your area of need. If an advisor does not have the skill set to help you achieve your financial goals, then you do not have the right fit. You should only work with an advisor that you believe is competent, and who truly believes that they can help you attain your financial goals.

  1. Are you qualified?

Many people offering financial services call themselves financial planners. However, financial planning is a detailed, comprehensive process requiring hands-on experience and a strong technical understanding of topics such as personal tax planning, insurance, investments, retirement planning and estate planning – and how a recommendation in one area can affect the others.

Ask what training s/he has successfully completed…

Ask what steps s/he takes to keep up with changes and developments in the financial planning field…

  1. How are you compensated for your services?

Advisors are compensated for their services in a variety of different ways. Be sure to ask how your advisor prefers to be compensated of his or her services prior to hiring them. The three types of compensation are fee only and fee and commission (if insurance us involved). Many advisors offer select services to investors based upon the payment method that they choose.

  1. How do you plan on helping me reach my financial goals?

Financial advisors have a unique role in shaping your financial future. Advisors act as a financial coach. They are responsible for developing and implementing a game plan that will help you to achieve your financial goals. An advisor will probably not be able to create a full-proof plan immediately after meeting you. However, the right advisor should be able to create a general game plan that is reflective of your financial goals. After some time has passed and they really get to know you, then they will be able to develop and implement a plan to help you reach your goals.