Financial planners play an important role in helping individuals and families reach their financial goals.
Financial planners aren't just there to help people retire. They are available to help people be financially prepared at every stage of their life. We've looked into ways of how a financial planner achieves this and the products they will use at different stages of people's lives.
What does it mean if someone is a financial planner and what will they do to help you?
A financial planner's job description would typically look like when it comes to helping you achieve your financial goals. Some of the tasks included in a financial planner's job description are:
- Reading and understanding a client's financial context
- Being able to match financial products specific to the client's financial context and needs
- Meeting needs with financial products and services that include budgeting, savings plans, investment plans, tax savings, retirement plans and asset planning
- Having a thorough understanding of investments, security planning, tax planning, savings, estate planning, insurance planning
- Understanding legal and financial documents pertaining to financial products
- Understanding financial laws and regulations
- Understanding legal restrictions within the financial laws and regulations
How will a financial planner help young and older adults?
Financial planners will help young adults with a combination of financial products to prepare them for retirement and also live a rewarding life where they are now. This includes:
- Eliminating debt and learning to budget
- Retirement planning
- Structuring your superannuation funds
- Maximising your short, medium and long-term investments
- Learning how to best protect and optimise your current income and assets e.g. with regards to tax structuring
- Taking the best steps towards purchasing a home
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How will a financial planner help seniors?
Although most seniors will already have some form of a retirement plan available, financial planners can assist with:
- Maximising a superannuation and other forms of income
- Restructuring assets and investments for living purposes as well as inheritance purposes
- Getting the best out of pensions and / or social security
- Preparing for aged care from a financial point of view
What will it cost you to have a financial planner assist you?
Financial planner fees can vary greatly depending on the services they offer you. The complexity of the advice and the service according to your financial context will be a big role player in determining the fees. Fortunately, initial meetings with a prospective financial adviser are generally free, which allows you to scope for a good match.
As you accept financial advice from a financial planner or adviser, consulting fees can be around $500 for simple advice and up to $3,000 for complex advice. These fees can be structured over a period of time if you are going to be a client of the financial planner for a longer time. Administration charges are not uncommon when financial planners need to execute the advice given. Ongoing fees will cover reports on your financial plan growth and any reviews that need to be made.
How are financial planners regulated?
There are plenty of financial planners around in Australia and a high concentration of companies and their financial planners are online. To protect consumers throughout Australia, it is important to regulate the industry. Financial planners are held accountable by foundational and adaptive training standards that are defined in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's (ASIC) Regulatory Guide 146 Licencing: Training of financial product advisers (RG 146).
Australian Securities and Investments Commission offers multiple resources on their website that oversee the regulatory process for parties that offer financial advice, services and products. To give financial advice, a licence, known as the RG 36 Licencing: Financial product advice and dealing, is required.
To assist Australian consumers in choosing the best financial planners, the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) represents the interests of the public and 11,500 members of the FPA.
Are you interested in being a financial planner?
Being a financial planner is regarded by many as a good career. It is a competitive space, but a financial planner career can be incredibly rewarding as you build up a reputation over the years and help people achieve their financial goals. According to the Job Outlook Government Website, the amount of financial planner job openings is expected to be at 53,500 by the year 2019.
There are many financial planner's courses available online and at universities that can help you to prepare for this career. A couple of courses with a solid reputation includes:
- Kaplan Professional's Financial Planning courses (ranges from level 1 to postgraduate master's level)
- Mentor Education offers the Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning (FNS60415)
- Sydney TAFE has a Bachelor of Applied Finance (Financial Planning)
- RMIT University has the Bachelor of Business degree (Financial Planning)
- Open Colleges offers a Finance Course that will equip to become a Financial Planner
- Deakin University has undergraduate and postgraduate finance courses to build a career in Financial Planning
- The FPA advances financial planners through the CFP® Certification Program
Financial planners should be well equipped to operate within the above context and then execute a process professionally where they interview clients, analyse the financial and contextual information, recommend financial products and services and then review the outcome to adapt.