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Financial Planning Gold Coast - The What, Why, & How Answers

SMSF accountant sunshine coastFinancial planning – the term means more than just managing your income and expenses. It also involves creating additional wealth, managing investment, planning for retirement, managing inheritance, and so much more. It can be really exhausting and overwhelming. But done correctly, it can also be really rewarding and satisfying.

So what does financial planning really mean? It means different things to different people. But on a broader scale it means setting up financial goals for the long-term and working towards achieving them. Thus, there are three primary stages involved here:

  1. Setting your goals
  2. Creating a plan and working according to it today
  3. Realizing the benefits of the plan

You may or may not be prepared to handle all the three stages all alone by yourself. It is advisable to hire a financial planner in Gold Coast to help you during all three stages.

A financial planner is a licensed professional who can help you manage your money and finances to meet your long-term goals. They can give you specialized advice on matters of cash flow, retirement planning, investments, estate management, financial risk evaluation and management, business succession, etc. They hold the Australian Financial Services (AFS) license issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. They are also members of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and are qualified as Certified Financial Planners (CFPs).

Financial Planners Vis-à- Vis Financial Advisors

Financial planners are specifically professionals who will help you set long term goals and give you a roadmap as to how you can achieve them. However, financial advisors is an umbrella term which includes other professionals as well like estate planners, stock brokers, insurance agents, wealth managers, asset managers, etc. This means all financial planners can be called financial advisors but all financial advisors are not financial planners.

How Can a Financial Planner Help?

Most of the times when people sit down and attempt financial planning they will have one of the three things to say:

  • I don’t know what I need
  • I want to grow what I have today
  • I want to secure my retirement

Now let’s see how professional advice can help you during each of these stages if you are taking up financial planning in the Gold Coast.

  • I don’t know what I need: In this case a financial planner can help you set more realistic long term financial goals that are achievable. They will help you develop a comprehensive view of your current financial situation. Based on this they will help you finalize your goals and create a roadmap for you to follow in order to achieve them.

  • I want to grow what I have today: In this case, a financial planner will help you take stock of your current assets. They will review your current investment portfolio and analyse your insurance. They will also look at any inheritances that you are expected to receive. Based on this they will advise you on investment strategies that will add value to your existing wealth. They will work out an approach for you that helps you secure your future and even be prepared for unexpected events.

  • I want to secure my retirement: Here the financial planners will work with you to figure out what kind of lifestyle you would like to have at your retirement and how much money you may need to provide for it. Based on this they will help you grow your super, build or adjust your current investment portfolio, and access government benefits. They will also help you transition from work to retirement in a seamless manner. They can also help you with things like gifting money to children post retirement, aged care advice, social security, and more.

Benefits of Hiring Professional Financial Planning Firm in the Gold Coast

Financial Advisor Gold CoastWide Range of Products: Since they are the professionals, they have knowledge of and access to wider range of financial products. They have better understanding of each of these products and can help you with each of them. They can introduce you to better investment options and help you diversify your portfolio that leads to better returns.

Customized Plans: One mistake that we tend to make is that we try to follow others and do what worked for them. But each individual is different and his needs are different. Keeping this in mind, a financial planning firm in Gold Coast will create plans that are tailored to your needs. You will be in control of these plans that will be curated specifically for you based on your long term financial goals and current investment portfolio.

Better Investment Strategies: A financial planner will be like your compass guiding you through the complex world of financial products. They will simplify them for you and help you make more informed investment strategies.

Experience: Professional financial planning firms in the Gold Coast bring to the table an accumulated experience of working with several clients over a period time. They have seen ups and downs and some exceptional cases as well. This experience has honed their skills and even intuition to some point. A new client only stands to gain from their experience.

How to Start the Financial Planning process?

The first thing to do is to ascertain your own financial needs. First understand you need a financial planner. Are you seeking help for a one-time case like inheritance management or are you looking at a more ongoing kind of support. For financial planning in Gold Coast, you will find three popular engagement models:

  • One-Time Support: Here the financial planner will support you for something specific on a fee-for- service basis. For example, if you have inherited some money and a few assets, then a financial planner can help you with their management. Once it is settled, then the engagement will end.

  • Long-Term Planning Support: Here a financial planner will work with you to set your long term financial goals and create a customized plan for you to follow in order to achieve those goals. Here the planning will be done after evaluating your current investment portfolio and the advice may include new investments, savings, taxation advice, etc.

  • Ongoing Support: Here you will have the financial planner working with you constantly to make changes to your strategies based on market performance and returns. This type of constant support is best suited for people who have a large and complex investment portfolio.

Once you have identified what kind of support you would require from a financial planner you then look to hire one.

How To Find The Right Financial Planner in the Gold Coast?

The most obvious place to start with, when you are starting the financial planning process, is the ASIC website. Here you can find a list of all the licensed financial planners.

Also another way which is to visit the website On the website you fill up the form and share your requirements and budget which are then matched within the network of financial planners. The ones that are most suitable are given your contact details so that they can reach out to you directly.

Once you have identified a few planners that meet your requirements, you start qualifying them.
Here is a list of few qualifiers that you can keep handy.

  1. License: Ensure that your planner is AFS licensed by ASIC and is a member of FPA.
  2. Qualification: The planner should be a qualified CPA and should have undergone the RG146 stipulated training.
  3. Financial Services Guide: Read their financial services guide carefully to understand what type of services they provide, what kind of financial products they deal with, and what are their fees.

  4. Financial Institution Association: Check if the planner is associated with any financial institution. If yes, try to probe into the type of engagement. If the planner is part of a firm that is employed by the institution or they are directly employed, then then chances are they would recommend products and investment options made available by the employer only.

  5. Financial Products Experience: Check what kind of financial products are they aware of and have recommended to clients like you earlier. It is important that a financial planner deals with wide variety of products so that you can diversify your portfolio better.

  6. Experience: Reach out to the client references that the planner has shared and try to find out the extent of services availed by them as part of their financial planning in Gold Coast. Also try to find out what type of engagement they had with the planner.

  7. Fee Structure: There are primarily three types of fee structures followed by financial planners. Some work on commission basis only where they may not charge you for their service, but will get a commission paid on the financial products that you invest in. Here the chances are that the products they recommend to you are not ideal for you but are paying them higher commission. Some planners will charge you certain fee for their service and they will also get a commission paid. And then finally there are financial planners who work on fee-only basis where they charge you either a fixed fee or an hourly rate for their service. They can also charge you a certain percentage of the value of assets that they help you manage. But they do not get any commission paid.

  8. Finance Management Style: Financial planning in Gold Coast can be done by adopting an aggressive approach as well as a non-aggressive route that does not involve a lot of risk taking. Find out what is the approach of your financial planner and if you are comfortable with it.

How to Prepare for First Session of Financial Planning

Once you have hired your financial planner, it is time to get down to serious business. You have to be comfortable with the planner and trust them enough to open up about certain financial matters. Let’s say you have hired a financial planner for long-term planning.

The first thing you should do is list down all your income sources and how much money you make from each source. Then you should prepare a list of your living expenses. Then create a list of all your savings and assets including the value of each asset. Also list down all the liabilities that you have including your credit card bills and any outstanding loans.

Next, you need to set your long term financial goals. Work with your planner here to set goals that are realistic and achievable in the long term. Also discuss your retirement plans. Share with your planner in how many years you expect to retire and what kind of retirement you would want. For example you can tell them if you want a comfortable retirement or a modest retirement.

Next, discuss your existing investment and their current value with the planner.

Based on all this information, your planner will create a roadmap for you that you can follow to achieve your long term financial goals.

How to Assess Your Financial Planning

Once your financial planner submits the plan he or she has created for you, assess it carefully. The plan should be comprehensive and yet easy to understand for you. It should be tailor made for you.

Here is a checklist of things you should assess in the plan.

  • Your current financial situation should be accurately captured.
  • Your future expectations and goals should be listed.
  • An in-depth analysis of your investment portfolio should be included.
  • If certain investments are recommended to be sold off then a proper explanation should be provided. The same holds true for investments that are recommended to be retained.

  • For any new financial products that are recommended for purchase, a detailed research of those products and why they are ideal for you should be included.

  • An explanation should be provided as to how the advice is expected to impact your taxation.
  • Your insurance needs should be accounted for.
  • An assessment of your estate needs should also be included.
  • A detailed explanation of how the recommended investment strategies meet your needs and risk profile should be included.

Financial planning is a critical aspect of life and should not be ignored. The sooner you start with a professional, the better it is.

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