Your first financial advice meeting
After you have selected the financial adviser that you think best suits your needs, it’s time to get your advice. There is some preparation that you will need to do and information that you will need to give the adviser.
You should gather the following information so that you get the best result from your meeting.
Your budgetInformation on your income and expenses on a monthly basis. If there are any planned changes to this, you should also let the adviser know. For example, a child may be completing their education in the next year which will reduce your expenses.
If you don’t have a budget make a list of your income sources (salary, interest, rental income, dividends etc) and your fixed and variable expenses (mortgage, rent, electricity, telephone, food, entertainment etc).
Your assetsWhat you own including property, investments, superannuation, cars and bank accounts.
Your liabilitiesDetails of loans, credit cards and any tax or other debts.
Your insuranceDetails of the types of cover, amounts and premiums you pay.
A list of your immediate or short-term needsFor example, travel plans or a new car.
Also make notes of what your goals are. What are your priorities? What is your financial goal? What is your lifestyle goal?
When you make your appointment with the adviser ask if there is any other information that they need.
During your appointment, your adviser will ask you lots of questions so that they can understand your personal situation, your goals and your attitude to risk. Some of the information may seem quite personal. Remember, the more information you provide your adviser, the more they will understand your needs and the better equipped they will be to develop a financial plan that suits you.
At this stage, there may be other questions you may like to pose to your financial adviser which have been divided into various categories below for ease of reference.
Your financial plan
Your adviser will take all the information about you and put together recommendations to meet your goals. These will be included in a document called a ‘Statement of Advice’. All licensed advisers must produce this document. It sets out the adviser’s recommendations and the reasons for the recommendations.
After the Statement of Advice is prepared, your adviser will normally want to go through it with you. As you go through the recommendations with your adviser, ask questions about anything you don’t understand. At the end of the interview, your adviser will give you the Statement of Advice, together with any Product Disclosure Statements for the recommendations for you to take away and read.
You should read all this information carefully to make sure you understand the recommendations and how they fit into your overall objectives. Write down any questions you have so that you can discuss these further with your adviser.
Only after you are completely satisfied that you understand the recommendations should you discuss how to put the plan in place with your adviser.
- What is a unit trust and how does it work?
- When is the best time to start an investment?
- Am I better to pay off my debt first?
- What is the benefit of adding regular amounts to my investments?
- How can I pay my mortgage off sooner?
- Should I invest directly into shares and property or through a unit trust?
- How will the investment returns affect my tax?
- How long should I keep my investments?
- How do I keep track of my investments?
- Should I borrow to invest?
- What is gearing and what are the risks and benefits?
- Will I have access to my investment if I need the money?
- Are there any fees to withdraw?
- How do I keep track of the investment returns?
- Can I lose my investment?
- Will I get regular reports on my investment?
- What will happen if I feel uncomfortable with the return?
- What is diversification?
- What will happen if the markets fall?
- What are the different levels of risk?
- Am I putting enough into super?
- What does salary sacrificing mean?
- Can I get my money out?
- I would like to retire on an income of $X. How much should I be contributing?
- How does tax work on super?
- What is the co-contribution from the Government?
- How do I get more money into my spouse’s account?
- Should I consolidate my super into one fund?
- How do I get the most income in retirement?
- Can I still get the pension?
- Will my income be taxed?
- When should I start planning for retirement?
- What will happen if I need to get some money for an emergency?
- Where will the money go if I die?
- Will my retirement savings last?
- What is risk management?
- What do I need to consider?
- What and how much cover do I need?
- Is it better to have insurance as part of my super or outside super?
- Who will get the benefits of my insurance if I die?
- Can I protect my income?
- Do I need a will?
- What is a power of attorney?
- Can I make sure my super benefits get to the people I want?
- Who do I see to get these affairs in order?
- How much will a financial plan cost?
- Are there any other costs I will incur?
- What do these fees and costs cover?
- What are the on-going fees in future years?
- How often should my financial plan be reviewed?
- Will you advise me of any changes, like tax, that affects my financial plan?
- Will there be any fees or costs for reviewing my financial plan?
- If my circumstances change can the financial plan be unwound?
- Should I change my investments if there is a change in the markets?