8 Tips for selecting a financial adviser

I have been looking into the work of the ADF Financial Services Consumer Council. This organisation, commendably, provides comprehensive, expert and free financial education for it’s very large workforce. The employer, sees it has a duty of care to it’s staff to provide these services to it’s employees. Bravo!

I think the video link below is a brilliant beginners guide to selecting an adviser, for any Australian consumer. Here are 8 steps in assessing the adviser in front of you:

  1. Check whether the adviser is properly licensed or authorised
  2. Ask questions about the ownership of the adviser’s business and assess whether that will have an impact on the advisers recommendations
  3. Ask how the adviser gets paid and how that may affect their recommendations
  4. Ask about your adviser’s education and experience
  5. Make sure that any advice you receive is put in writing before you act
  6. Understand what ongoing services you will receive, and how much they will cost
  7. See a number of advisers, shop around until you find the person you feel most comfortable with
  8. Remember you’re looking for an adviser not a product salesperson

Make a cuppa, and enjoy the video.

Ben

Super is your money…..really….it is! Take it back!

In my 16 years in the superannuation and financial advice business, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy, trying to convince people to treat their superannuation as if it were their own money. Sound crazy? It is when you think about it, but understandable given we live in an age of information overload.

My clients are pretty intelligent, hard working people, who can manage family responsibilities, mortgages, personal share portfolios, property investments,  and even run successful businesses. How was it that they couldn’t be bothered to invest their super as if it were their own money? Probably because the super industry actually profits from this ignorance. Well, most of it anyway.  It seemed that large swathes of an industry, has evolved to foster a general investor disinterest / or false confidence in their fund managers or advisers. The marketing machine is enormous whilst the delivery of quality advice seems very thin on the ground. That may sound harsh, but there is plenty of evidence to support this theory. Scandal after scandal, large scale abuses of investor trust, and investments and strategies that have almost no chance of helping a client meet their goals.  Surely it’s time for more investors to take control?

I often track down super for clients after years of neglect. Decades in some cases! People have multiple funds from various jobs, no idea of how or where the money is invested, let alone who was profiting from it, or why some of the accounts have disappeared completely. And if they did make a decision, it was once, ten years ago based on limited advice, a seminar, or an advertisement they saw on TV, and left it drift along.

Consistent comments that I would get were:

“Super has too many rules, you can’t trust it, the government will just change them later”

“Super is run by the government/bank/fund manager, I assume they’ll do the right thing”

“It’s not that much, my super is my business/property/share portfolio which is far better than super will ever be”

My one question to people when I see (respectfully of course) is:

“Are you out of your mind?!”

Super is yours. Even if it is a few thousand dollars. Take it back. It was designed, like or not, to accumulate over your working life to fund your retirement. It also has the best tax treatment of any structure available.  There are many rules, some say too many, imposed on us by government about all sorts of things. From where we can park, what we can put in our bodies, how much tax we pay when we work or make profits, how many metres a chicken coop must be from an inhabited dwelling….I could go on, but you get the idea. Find out where your money is, ask some questions of an experienced, qualified adviser who works ONLY in your best interests, and take it back!

Ben