What do financial advisers do?
It’s quite common that people aren’t familiar with what a Financial Adviser actually does. They often understand that we’re a financial planner in Canberra and we look at financial situations and give investment advice, and probably look at super funds, and provide planning services. However people don’t often understand what we do beyond that.
We actually do so much more, and it’s not all about numbers. We listen, research, discuss and listen some more, and work out what kind of financial planning advice one needs. Everyone’s situation is different, and some people may require only investment or superannuation advice. Other people may require retirement planning advice, an in-depth look at how their retirement may be funded and how long they might be able to live comfortably. Often we’ll cover things that people may not have considered or expected, for example Estate Planning.
Next, after in-depth discussions around goals, the desired financial future, options to get there, and the personal financial situation involved, we put together a detailed and tailored financial plan. A financial plan that is tailored to an individual situation to help one work towards their financial and lifestyle goals. And then we help to put it in place.
When doing our research we have advanced tools and resources available to help us that may otherwise inaccessible or expensive to access. We have knowledge and experience that can only accumulate with years of professional experience. And we have professional networks so that if we can’t help with something, we can efficiently direct our clients to someone who can. We know legislation, products and processing, and how they all combine – noting that they don’t always neatly fit together!
Something that is often forgotten or overlooked in terms of the benefits of working with a Financial Adviser is the accountability factor. We regularly check in with our ongoing service clients with a friendly reminder to see how they’re going. Our clients know that we check in regularly, so if they go off track we’ll be asking about it. Sometimes we find that this accountability factor can be particularly helpful in improving saving rates, and improving wealth over the long term.
We may also act as a reliable guiding hand, listening when our clients have something on their minds and helping them to make big financial decisions with confidence, rather than a guess and terrifying leap. We can bring objectivity into a situation, and help to provide clarity by asking the right questions. Sometimes, just by laying out the different options clearly, and going through the details of each, an answer to a financial problem may present itself.
Sometimes, I hear people wonder if they can get the same result from consulting Google. The internet is, after all, full of information. But please be reminded that not all information on the internet is correct. Some of the information online is factually wrong. It's very important to understand that if you’re making a big financial decision and miss even a small part of the relevant information, it could be very costly!
We Financial Advisers do so much more than insurance or superannuation advice. We help to plan lives and build financial futures so that people can work towards achieving their goals and dreams. We also help people to develop their financial goals and work towards them over the long term. When things don't go to plan or unexpected events occur, we're then here to revise things and look to get things back on track.
It is possible to get financial information on the internet. And it’s also possible to do yoga on YouTube. Coming from someone who has tried yoga on YouTube and never made it through a single session – sometimes there is no substitute for working with someone directly if you actually want to make progress.
Alison Kaigan – Your Canberra financial planner