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Financial Planning 101 - Answers to Frequently Asked Questions When Hiring Financial Planner Gold Coast

Financial Planner Gold Coast

Financial Planner Gold CoastWhen it comes to money matters, most of us would agree that we can do with a little more advicemand support. But many people make the mistake of not seeking professional financial advice until they are close to retirement. Such short notice can hardly help you reach reasonable financial security. The sooner you start with professional advice on financial planning, the better it is for the long term.

Almost everybody agrees that the advice of financial planners can be quite priceless. Financial planners can in fact add a lot of value to your finances in the long-term. But that very first step of reaching out to a financial planner can be difficult. There can be a lot of uncertainty or doubt prevailing around hiring financial planner in Brisbane. And given the number of funds that go bankrupt or financial planners duping their clients, it is justified enough. So here we have come up with a simple guide to answer commonly asked questions around financial planning and help you choose right financial planner in Brisbane.

Who Is a Financial Planner?

Financial planner is a professional who can help you manage and plan your money to meet long- term goals. They can help you plan your cash flows, retirement fund, investments, financial risk, estate management, and business succession. They provide specialist advice on investment strategies and wealth creation for the long term.

What is the Difference Between a Financial Planner and a Financial Adviser?

Like mentioned earlier, Financial Planner is a professional who helps you plan your finances to meet long-term financial goals. Financial planner is a kind of financial adviser.

Financial adviser is a broader term and consists of other professionals also like insurance agents, stock brokers, estate planners, etc. This means different professionals dealing with different aspects of finance are included in this broader term.

Given this, we can say that financial planner is a subset of financial adviser. All financial planners will be financial advisers but all financial advisors cannot be financial planners.

What Licenses Should a Financial Planner Have?

When trying to hire a good financial planner in Brisbane, always look for three things – license, membership, and qualification.

License: A financial planner must have an Australian Financial Services (AFS) license. This license is issued by the regulator – Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). In addition to this, they should also have a Financial Services Guide.

Membership: A financial planner should hold a membership of the Financial Planning Association (FPA).

Qualification: A financial planner should hold a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) qualification – the highest qualification in financial planning.

Who Should Hire a Financial Planner?

One common misconception that people have is that only the wealthy need financial planners. But that’s not true. People with fixed monthly income or relatively irregular income patterns also need financial planners. How much money you make is not a criterion to decide whether you need a financial planner or not.

People who are facing financial distress may already be working with financial counsellors. But financial counsellors are meant to give you short time advice only whereas the financial planners are the more qualified professionals to draw out plans for long term financial security.

You should ideally seek professional advice from a financial planner when:

  • You are trying to plan long-term financial security of your family
  • You are trying to buy a new home
  • You are planning to secure your retirement
  • You have been retrenched

What Types of Advices Financial Planner Can Give?

The way financial planners in Brisbane engage with you as a client will completely depend on you. However, there are three types of engagements that are more commonly found.

  1. One-off engagement: This is a one-off kind of advice that you can get from a financial planner. For example if you want to consolidate your super fund, you might ask a financial planner to help you with the best possible way. Here you pay the financial planner a fee-for- service.

  2. Long-term planning: This is more ideal for people who are trying to establish a strategy that secures their financial future. This is where the financial planner will help you plan your investments, give you taxation advice, and create a financial plan for you to follow for the long-term. This type of engagement is best suited for people whose financial life is a little complicated and financial future a bit uncertain.

  3. Ongoing engagement: This sort of engagement is best suitable for people who have a very large and complicated investment portfolio. Such portfolios might need constant monitoring and management. Since they are complicated investments, you might want to change the strategy frequently depending on market performance. In such cases, you may want to look at having an ongoing engagement with a financial planner.

What Are the Legal Responsibilities of Financial Planners?

Financial Planner Gold CoastFinancial Planner Gold Coast

There have been a few cases in the past where financial planners have duped clients by advising them to invest in funds that are not doing well but from where they tend to get better commissions. This has caused financial loss to clients whereas the financial advisors get away with their own commissions and bonuses. However, the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms, which became mandatory from July 1, 2015 onwards have done away with the commissions and incentives to protect the interest of the public and promote trust and honesty between financial planners and their clients.

A FoFA compliant financial planner in Brisbane will follow below listed mandatory processes:

  1. Not Engage in Conflicted Revenue Strategy: A FoFA compliant financial planner will always act in the best interest of you as a client and not put his or her personal gain over yours. They will not advise you to make investments in products that earn them higher remunerations but are not ideal for your financial portfolio.

  2. Allow Clients to Opt-In for Ongoing Advice: A FoFA compliant financial planner in Brisbane will give you opt-in notice which means if you have been having an ongoing engagement with a financial planner then you have to express an opt-in for it from July 1, 2015, which is kind of like an expression of continuing the engagement. This way you don’t get charged for advice that you didn’t ask for. The rule is applicable to client who have started receiving advice on or after July 1, 2013.

  3. Send You Fee Disclosure Statements: A FoFA compliant financial planner will also send you his or her fee disclosure statement even if you have been receiving advice from them before July 1, 2013. It is mandatory now for financial planners to issue fee disclosure statements.

In addition to these, a good financial planner from Brisbane will:

  • Disclose the details of any kind of relationship that he or she has with any financial institution.

  • Explain why he or she is recommending a certain product for investment. The mere fact that they stand to gain financially from the investment that they advise you to make does not make the advice improper if they are able to explain and justify why such investment is ideal to your circumstances.

  • Give you an annual statement of advice that was given, the objective of each advice, and the fee charged.

What Should Be Discussed During a Financial Planning Session?

The term ‘session’ here indicates that is going to be a dialogue and not just a monologue. There is going to be an exchange of information and ideas from both ends. This means both the financial planner and the client have to be prepared.

So as a client what should you be prepared to share with the planner? Here’s a quick checklist.

  • You should be ready to share the sources of your income, and the details of your living expenses.

  • You will be required to share details of your assets, their values, and all liabilities which will include your credit card bills, outstanding amounts, and loans.

  • You will have to prepare a list of your short-term financial goals and long-term expectations.

Similarly, as a potential client you have the right to ask your planner to share a few things about them as well. Here’s a good way to start.

  • Ask your planner to send you a soft copy of their Financial Services Guide so that you have it handy and easily accessible from anywhere.

  • Ask them to share information about their qualification, licenses, and the extent of advice they can give you.
  • Ask them to share details of their association with any financial institution and the extent of  that association.
  • Ask them to share a few client references and do verify them.
  • Tell them to share details of their professional indemnity insurance.

What Is the Fee Structure of a Financial Planner?

Financial planners from Brisbane usually disclose their fees and commissions if any in their Financial Services Guide. However, these numbers and percentages are not sacrosanct. They are flexible and can be changed if agreed upon by the planner and the client.

However, there are three main components to a financial planner fee that you as a client should be aware of:

  1. Plan Fee: This is a fee that financial planners will charge you for preparing your long-term financial plan. This value will depend on the experience of the planner and the different skillsets required.

  2. Commissions: This is the amount that a financial planner will earn out of the investments that you make. This will most likely be a percentage value of the investment made in a particular product.

  3. Ongoing Charges: This may include some additional amount like fees for regular financial reviews, management expenses, master trust portfolio service fees, etc. You may want to ask your financial planner upfront what additional amounts you would be paying.

Few Tips to Consider When Choosing a Financial Planner

Most financial planners in Brisbane will give you a free first consultation. That is fine since it gives you an opportunity to sit down with the planner and gauge the level of comfort that you experience with them. If you are not feeling at ease and comfortable with the planner within first 20 minutes then it’s a long shot that your engagement with the planner will work.

If you are looking for a one-off kind of engagement with a financial planner, it hardly matters if you have a rapport with the planner or not. But if you are looking for someone to guide you through the financial matters over a period of time and guide you through investment matters, then it is important that you are comfortable with your planner and are able to trust their advice.

If a planner says that they do not charge any fee for their service then it probably means that they work on commission-only basis. Such commission-only engagements are hardly perfect for the clients.

It is also important that your financial planner takes the time to explain a financial product or an investment strategy. Even if you have a professional guiding you, it is ultimately your decision and you are responsible for it. Bad advice or improper advice from the professional does not absolve your responsibility. So do not dive into a strategy or sign onto something that you do not understand completely.

How to Find a Good Financial Advisor in Brisbane?

Financial planning is a highly customized service and a one-size- fits-all approach just doesn’t work. After all, it will be a plan created for “you” to meet “your” long-term goals depending on “your” income and expenses today. So it is better to find a financial planner that understands you, your requirements, and your goals. So where do you start to find such an ideal financial planner?

One place to start is the ASIC website where all the licensed financial planners are registered and listed.

The other (better) option is to visit our website and fill up a short form. You can tell us your requirements and your budget. We will then match these to our pool of financial planners and identify the ones best for you. Your contact details will be shared with these financial planners who will then get in touch with you. Simple, hassle free, quick, and effective!

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