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Things to consider

Many financial planners offer a complimentary introductory meeting. The introductory meeting is your opportunity to make sure that you feel comfortable with the financial planner’s professional credentials, and that you get on well. Financial planning is a relationship business and not just a one-off meeting. Ask plenty of questions!

A sure sign of a good financial planner is that they don’t rush you, carefully listen to you and clearly explain where they can add value, and where they can’t. Here are some that you should consider:

What qualifications do they have?

When choosing a financial planner, make sure they have the necessary qualifications. The simplest way to do this is to narrow your selection to an FPA member many of which are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professionals who have achieved the highest financial planning qualification worldwide.

What experience do they have?

Experience is an important consideration in choosing any professional. Ask how long the financial planner has been in practice, the number and types of firms with which they have been associated, and how their work experience relates to their current practice. Enquire about what experience the planner has in dealing with people in similar situations to yours, and whether they have any specialised training.

Is the financial planner licensed?

Always look for a financial planner who works for a firm that holds an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). You should ask for a copy of their Financial Services Guide.

What do they specialise in?

Different financial planners have specific expertise in different areas, for example superannuation or retirement planning.

Some are only able to advise on limited areas, so you need to make sure that your financial planner is qualified in the areas that are relevant to you. It’s important that your financial planner’s skills and experience match your needs.

ARE THEY a member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA)?

The FPA is Australia’s leading professional community of financial planners. Members of the FPA sign up to stricter criteria and higher professional and ethical standards than required by law. They are obligated to put your interests first, at all times.

How do they charge for THEIR services?

By law all financial planners must disclose all forms of payment and fees. The cost to you will depend on the complexity of your financial situation and plan, as well as the fee method the planner uses.

There are various ways to structure fees, and it typically starts with an initial fee to identify your needs, develop a strategy and implement their recommendations. There could also be administration and ongoing service fees for regular reviews of your plan.

Unlike other financial planners, FPA members abide by a remuneration policy that ensures any fees you pay are clear and transparent. An FPA member is required to make sure you understand and approve the fees before they are incurred.

Find a Financial Planner

FPA members represent the highest professional and ethical standards in financial planning. Use our Find a Planner service to find one near you.

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