How to find a good financial planner

Feb 15, 2016
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Written by Anthony Guerrieri

You are struggling to achieve your financial goals. You are not trying to get rich-quick, nor are you expecting some miracle. You are just hoping to manage your finances more efficiently. You consider seeking guidance from a financial planner. But you realise that if you are going to invest money to make money then you should probably make sure your financial planner is competent and trustworthy.

What exactly is a financial planner?

Financial planners are investment professionals who can provide you, or your business with advice. Their role is to set you some objectives and help you achieve them over time. With this, financial planners analyse your financial position, and then set an agenda for achieving your goals. A financial planner may be a good solution for you if you are going through changes within your life, such as inheritance, starting a family, or moving jobs. For your business it could be upsizing, lowering profitability or changes to tax that provoke you to seek the advice of a financial planner.

How to identify a ‘competent and trustworthy’ financial planner

Level of Education

You should research the educational background of the financial planner. Financial planners are not required to earn a degree in order to practice. So searching for an advisor with a degree in fields such as finance,economics, or accounting, can help increase your chances of finding a competent financial planner. Use the ASIC registry to search for adviser’s qualifications, and educational background.

Ask questions

Become an interrogator. Your potential financial planner will hold all the monetary skeletons that you have been keeping in your closet. You need to make sure that you are certain they have the experience, and moral standards to hold this information. Through asking questions such as who are their client base, what is their business mission and what is their approach to confidentiality, you can have assurance that you have selected the most trustworthy planner.

Think about the price

Price is subjective and depends on your situation. An appropriate price for a firm requiring a planner to guide them through a business merger, will differ from an appropriate price for a family looking to invest their small inheritance. However, asking questions about pricing policy can help anyone gain assurance about whether the planner is right for them. You can ask about whether the planner charges a flat dollar fee, or changes for a percentage of assets. You can also ask about the frequency in which you will be billed, and how many face to face sessions you will have with the planner. These questions will give you confidence about the value of the planner.

If you follow these tips, you should be able to find a financial planner you can trust with your finances and assets. As the saying goes, you need to spend money to make money.

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