Finding the right one… financial planner, that is!

22 Jun 2022

By Contributor

A couple looking at their finances on a laptop.

If you followed the banking royal commission, you’d have picked up that financial planners aren’t all squeaky clean. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of honest, reputable financial planners out there. The trick is finding the right one for you.

Truth is, not everybody needs financial advice. If you’re paying off a mortgage, don’t have much in savings and you’re happy with your current super fund, you probably don’t need to pay for advice (and you’ve got access to our great range of financial education articles).

If you’re ready to invest then a good financial planner can really help. But how do you find a good one?

Look before you leap

There is no shortage of ‘experts’ out there who claim to be the right person to help you take care of your money. Before you even sit down with one of them, check out the basics first.

Go to the Financial advisers register on ASIC’s MoneySmart website and make sure they are legally authorised to give advice. If their name isn’t on the list, keep walking.

Next, get a copy of the planner’s Financial Services Guide (usually just called the FSG). You’ll find it on their website.

The FSG will give tell you about the planner’s qualifications, the type of advice they are able to give and any restrictions or conflicts that might influence their advice.

Be prepared

Before you arrange a meeting with a planner, put together a list of your assets, liabilities, superannuation and insurance.

And be prepared to ask questions, like how do they charge for their services, who is responsible for any advice given (usually a larger company) and what experience the planner has helping people with a situation like yours?

Read the fine print

There are two other documents you should know about.

First, if the planner recommends an investment product, you should be provided with a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to help you decide if the investment is right for you.

Second, any specific advice given should be contained in a Statement of Advice (SOA). If it’s a long document full of jargon, ask for it to be explained in plain English.

Finally, take some time out before you sign on the dotted line. If you aren’t comfortable with the planner or the advice given, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion.

Can we help?

Ray Smith, from the Australian Catholic Superannuation office in WA, can assist you with any general information you may require. Ray can visit you in your school, assist you with general superannuation questions and ensure that you are comfortable on your retirement journey.

Alternatively, if you want to simply book in for advice, give us a call on 1300 658 776 and we can assist you further.