Do you have money? Well…
Only joking. As biased as I might be working in our industry toward people seeking quality financial advice the reality is it really depends on where we are at in our own lives as to whether we really NEED to see a Financial Adviser. As I’ve mentioned a few times on Get Finucated! there are a number of foundations that we can get right without needing to pay a professional, but recognising the stage of our lives where we’ve moved passed the basics that we can handle ourselves and where a Financial Adviser would begin to add value to our lives is an important identification to make. Even more important is understanding that this point is different for everyone and we should never rely on the opinion of others as to whether it is the right thing to do. To help identify some triggers that might signal you could do with some outside help I’ve listed some questions below to ask before deciding whether it’s time to call in some professional help.
How well do I understand my finances?
For this to be an effective question we need to be really honest with ourselves. Do we understand how much we get paid every week and know that by the end of the month that we are going to have something left over and that about covers it? We should know by now that whilst it’s great to make sure you’ve got all your outgoings covered and are responsible enough to stay on top of your bills, it’s really not going to get us much farther than living paycheck to paycheck. Hopefully if you’ve found your way here we’ve helped you take care of some of the basics around your superannuation, cash-flow and personal goals however it can still be a daunting task. If you feel that you are still a little shady on some of the foundations of good financial management or your situation is a little more complex and we haven’t been able to assist you it could be a great time to sit down face-to-face with an Adviser and make sure that you fully understand your financial world and have got your money and structures working for you as efficiently as possible.
How disciplined are you?
There’s one thing knowing what to do, and there’s another actually getting it done. For the same reason that we have a personal trainer when we know how to get fit, a Financial Adviser keeps us honest and accountable for the goals and plans that we put in place. Without having someone to look over our shoulder and nudge us in the right direction we can easily make excuses for ourselves and before we know it the plan is much further from fruition than it ought to be. Partnering with a good Adviser if you know that you’re self discipline is a little less than perfect is worth it’s weight in gold and can keep you motivated toward achieving your goals.
Are you approaching or currently experiencing a major life event?
There are a number of things, both good and bad, that can happen during our lifetimes that can greatly assisted with the help of a professional. If you are looking to buy your first home, having children or getting married these are positive emotional times that can have a significant impact on your financial future. Engaging in the services of an unbiased professional can help you think clearly and strategically about what is best for you long term rather than getting caught up in the moment and spending a little more than you planned. Equally as important, during negative events such as divorce, tragedy in the family or being made redundant there are decisions that are best made with a cool head that can be navigated much easier with the help of a Financial Adviser who assists with these life events every day.
Are you open to receiving advice?
It may sound like a silly question if you are considering whether or not you need a Financial Adviser but you would be surprised at the number of people who seek a Financial Adviser without really wanting to take advice. Make sure before you speak with a professional that you are ready with an open mind and consider the number of different strategies that should be suggested. Please don’t enter a conversation with an Adviser seeking confirmation of a strategy or plan that you already have in mind without listening to the response. It’s an Adviser’s job to present you with alternatives and demonstrate the value that you could be sacrificing because of something that you haven’t considered. This does not mean that you should blindly follow any advice that you are given, I would strongly suggest that you do your own due diligence on the Adviser and the strategies that he suggests just ensure you consider all possibilities otherwise it will be a waste of both your time.
I’ve decided I need to speak with an Adviser, now what?
Finding the right Adviser is as an important decision as making the choice to get financial advice in the first place. The wrong Adviser matched to the wrong client can leave a sour taste in both parties’ mouths and can put the client off seeking help in the future. Conduct some research online first and make sure that the Adviser is suited to the type of advice that you are looking for. An example would be seeking an Adviser that specialises in self-employed or small business owners if you have your own company as opposed to an Adviser that focuses on Gen-Y or Millennials and helping them purchase their first home. Both Advisers might be great at what they do however their service is going to reflect their target client base so it’s important to find a service that suits you. Once you find a Financial Adviser that you would like to meet it’s a good idea to speak with them directly over the phone before booking an appointment and discussing your needs and concerns. Often a good Adviser will tell you over the phone if he is not the right Adviser for you so the greater clarity that you have regarding your needs the better outcome you will receive.
If you get in contact with an Adviser that you think might be a great fit but you aren’t sure as to exactly what you should expect please feel free to contact me directly and I can assist with describing the standard process and can help identify if anything doesn’t quite seem right.
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Please note that Get Finucated is not a Financial Adviser and the information contained on this website may be considered as general advice. That is, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information relates to your unique circumstances.
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