Why use a financial planner?
After working for many years as a Chartered Accountant in Perth and regional Western Australia; as well as a specialist estate planning consultant with an interest in investment markets; transitioning to providing comprehensive financial planning advice seemed like the logical next step.
I did not realise how big a step this would be. The emotional aspect of financial planning advice requires delving deeper into the ‘hearts’ of clients and ultimately discovering what makes them really happy. This is not only challenging to do well, but also very rewarding because the outcome is tailored to suit the unique circumstances and dreams of each client.
Despite the seemingly endless amount of negative publicity about the financial planning profession, financial planners still have a very important role to play in society.
Why is financial planning important?
There is a general lack of education on how to save and invest for your future. This includes how to manage financial risks and also plan for unexpected costs that inevitably arise as you age. Most Australians are reliant on compulsory superannuation savings and/or the government funded age pension and have little knowledge about how financial markets work, and the benefits of saving early to enjoy the benefits of investment compounding.
Investors have a tendency to follow the crowd and invest with their emotions. They feel better investing in growth assets when everyone else is and then conversely selling with the crowd. This usually results in investing at or near the top of the investment cycle and selling at the bottom.
Investors are frequently not aware of the risks they are taking when investing. Often Investors assume high risks equals achieve high rates of return, only to realise at a later stage that they have suffered a permanent loss of their capital.
There are many competing priorities that you have face in each stage of life. It is difficult to consider planning for retirement when you are starting out in the workforce and as you take on additional responsibilities that come with having a family.
In previous generations, it was common to only have one or two secure jobs over a whole lifetime. Rapid technological change means that jobs can disappear overnight and loyalty from both the employer and employee may be a thing of the past.
You need to plan carefully to prepare for possible time out of the workforce and keep developing your skills at the same time as building a retirement fund.
The so called ‘Golden Years” are associated with time spent doing all the things you could not do when you were working and using your retirement savings to fund them. With the aid of developments in medical science and living healthier lives, we may have many years to fund.
There is a real prospect that you will outlive your retirement savings without advice on post retirement risks and regular review during your post retirement years.
The age pension was designed as a safety net fund when retirement after work was only expected to be three to five years. The recent Intergenerational Report highlighted the inability of the Federal Governments ability to maintain the age pension in its current format and it cannot be relied on as a retirement income stream.
Tax Driven Investments
Tax is an important component of an investment strategy, however it should only be considered in the context of all the other components. Investors have been enticed by the prospect of high returns from tax driven investment schemes such only to suffer a permanent loss of their capital when the returns did not materialize.
The total household wealth In Australia has increased six and a half times from 1988 to 2013 due to increases in asset prices and the introduction of compulsory superannuation. However, so has the level of household debt. We may be wealthier but the level of debt means we are highly vulnerable to interest rates increases and loss of employment income.
The baby boomer generation (those born from 1945 to 1964)generates a powerful amount of economic activity in Australia. As more of them retire, the heavy lifting for the economy will be left to a lesser number of workers. These workers are already dealing with the increasingly high cost of housing and will also have to foot the bill for the cost of the longevity issues associated with the ageing baby boomers.
People aged 70+ are expected to double over the next 20 years increasing strain on aged care services. The aged care system is complex and requires consideration of a number of areas, such as taxation, government assistance, estate planning, and health and retirement planning.
What does a financial planner do?
We will help you match your business and financial goals,to what is important in your life, so that you have a plan that considers matters of both the head and heart.
We will help you bring all elements of your financial life together so that they are coordinated with each other. We help you with estate planning, tax planning, risk management, cash flow management, retirement planning and debt management in the context of your overarching financial goals and objectives. The aim is so to have a plan covering many different scenarios that can then be updated and reviewed regularly.
We will hold you accountable to your objectives and goals and regularly review your progress towards achieving them. We will question and challenge your decision making so that you have a sounding board to avoid making big mistakes in your financial life.
We will help you with important financial decisions you wish to make at each life stage, to make sure you have thoughtfully considered all the available options.
We help choose products that are suitable for you, and that will help you achieve your financial goals. We will disclose all forms of remuneration that we receive.
We work with you to anticipate important life transitions, so that you are emotionally, mentally and financially prepared and ultimately look forward to the transition to the transition to the next stage of your life.
We keep abreast of technical and legislative changes that may impact your financial plan. We will call in subject matter experts when required, to address your needs culminating in the best outcomes for you.
We educate you on the fundamentals of investing, wealth creation, retirement planning, estate planning and tax planning so that you are better able to make rational decisions. We keep you informed by publishing articles on a regular basis. We also share important articles we read with you on a daily basis via social media including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus and Pinterest .
We work with in collaboration with your other trusted advisers such as your accountant, estate-planning solicitor and mortgage broker to make sure our advice provides you with the best possible outcomes.
What are the benefits of working with us?
Your business and financial goals will be in alignment with your life goals.
Your plan allows you to transition from full time work or selling your business to a new life that you look forward to and provides you with a sense of purpose.
You will have a plan in place with the aim of providing you with financial independence.
You will have a plan in place so your family will be looked after and taking into consideration in every plan you make.
Transfer of wealth and family values
You will have a plan to not only transfer your family wealth from one generation to the next, but also to make sure your family values are transferred.
You will have a pre-retirement and post-retirement plan that provides with you peace of mind that you will not outlive your savings and that you are prepared for each stage of retirement.
You will have a documented estate plan that is updated regularly and transfers your family wealth in a tax and asset protective way and also avoids estate disputes.
Maximize your return on life
You will have a financial plan that helps you live the life you dream of and maximises your return on life.
Despite its initial challenges and ongoing demands to stay abreast of ever changing legislation and increasing compliance requirements, providing financial planning advice is a very stimulating and rewarding profession to be part of.
As long I can continue to help people achieves their goals, dreams and a better return on life, I will continue to do it for many years to come.