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What to take to your first meeting with a financial planner

Category Budgeting Investment

First time visit to the financial planner - what to take

Australians reach out to financial planners at different stages of their lives, whether we’re a Baby Boomer trying to grow our property and share portfolio, a Gen X family needing to reduce our mortgage and credit card debt, or a Gen Yer trying to save for a home deposit or planning to maximise our super ahead of retirement.

The reasons to meet with a financial planner may vary as we all have different goals and aspirations, but it shouldn’t be a daunting process. On the contrary, it could be our ticket to peace of mind; an extended European holiday; our children’s education or a more comfortable retirement. Financial planners are essentially there to help us manage, plan and maximise our finances, as well as develop investment strategies suited to our needs and goals that will result in wealth creation over time.

” 50 per cent of Baby Boomers surveyed said they had a long-term financial plan -RaboDirect Financial Health Barometer 2014″

We may not know what to expect from our first meeting, but we can start thinking about what we need or would like to achieve. Whatever the goals, financial planners need to make an assessment to give us the appropriate tools and recommendations. That’s why we should take information and documentation that gives them an insight into our lives.

Here’s what you should take:

  • Information about family members or dependants, their health and any family circumstance that can affect your finances.
  • Details about personal income, family income and future income such as expected pay rises or bonuses, asset sales, inheritance.
  • An outline of daily expenses and future expenses.
  • A list of assets and liabilities including mortgage, personal loan, credit card debt and investment properties.
  • Information about current investments such as shares and futures.
  • Material concerning superannuation.
  • Information about tax paid or tax liabilities.

What your financial planner may ask

A financial planner may also have some questions to help them understand you better:

  • How long will you be providing and caring for your family or dependants?
  • How will your family and dependants be provided for if you become severely ill or die?
  • How do you want to educate your children?
  • Do you plan to buy an investment property?
  • Do you want to downsize your home?
  • Do you want to reduce your working hours or retire soon?
  • Are you expecting any large expenses?
  • Do you want to give your children their inheritance?

Importance of financial planning

According to the RaboDirect Financial Health Barometer for 2014, 50 per cent of Baby Boomers surveyed said they had a long-term financial plan, compared to around 44 per cent of Gen Xers and 45 per cent of Gen Yers, and were slightly more likely to keep up to date with financial matters. Younger generations find dealing with finances more daunting and overwhelming compared to older Australians.

Baby Boomers who mainly consult financial advisors, accountants or tax agents, are using them less this year compared to 2013 and 2012. Meanwhile, Gen Xers and Gen Yers prefer to look for financial advice on comparison websites or MoneySmart, expert blogs and Facebook, or look at traditional advertising. On the bright side, younger people trust their financial planners and advisors more than their older counterparts do.

While it’s reassuring that younger and older Aussies are engaging in long-term financial planning, it’s still fewer than 50 per cent. The other half could be destined to have less money in their pockets in the short to medium term or live an uncomfortable retirement.

In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, money can be still hard to come by and job security can be unstable or scarce. It can potentially make us more vulnerable and in need of an action plan. That’s why a financial planner can give us information and clarity on our situation. Their experience and industry knowledge is known to provide security, as well as a quicker and better informed route to achieving our financial goals.

Disclaimer: The views expressed, and any advice given, in the above article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of RaboDirect. We recommend that you seek professional advice before making any decisions relating to the matters discussed in the article.